But it deserves special mention here as well:
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today announced that he has secured a commitment from Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al Bashir to agree to a 60-day cessation of hostilities in the Darfur region to allow for a new political process under the Darfur Peace Agreement and the auspices of the African Union and the United Nations. Governor Richardson also spoke this week with rebel leaders who said they would agree to a cease-fire. If all parties follow through with the cease-fire, the A.U. and the U.N. will convene a Peace Summit on March 15 under the framework of the peace agreement.
Now, I just have to say congratulations. Congratulations to the bright spot of peace and diplomacy that Bill Richardson brought to this day of rampant escalation and increasing violence. Congratualtions to the Sudanese people, who now have another chance for peace. Congratulations to Richardson himself, who once again proved his mettle with the roughest of foes.
I think my favorite quote might have been from this previous article, which showed how Richardson laid it on the line:
"We're going to press the rebels to participate not just in the Abuja process, but in the cease-fire and protecting humanitarian groups," Richardson said. He said he and al-Bashir discussed how to bring those who refused to sign on to Abuja into the process.
He discussed the same issue later with Minni Minnawi, the leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement that signed the agreement and subsequently became a presidential assistant. Minnawi expressed disappointment that the government has not yet disarmed the militias and told Richardson if the al-Bashir's government does not honor its commitments, there will be regime change.
Yet he encouraged other rebel leaders to sign onto the agreement and said he would adhere to it. "We are respecting the cease-fire and we will continue to implement it," Minnawi said in an interview at him home in Khartoum, where other Darfurians sat under tents and cooked food in the yard.
While I don't think Daily Kos is a accurate sample of the general public, I thought this comment from Cara's diary truly represented how I could see many Americans seeing this event:
Why is it up to the Governor of New Mexico to broker this deal? Where is the Secratary of State? Do we not have a State Department? an ambassador at the UN? Yes, we have all those things, but they are as disfunctional as the rest of the Bush/Cheney government at talking to the world, as they are at running a competent goverment here at home. For a government that was supposed to put the "adults" back in charge of the levers of governance, will someone tell me anything that they have done competently, other than hijack the electoral process and help Congress become an organized kleptocracy? And now, the Governor of New Mexico has to go abroad and broker a peace deal that Bush/Cheney is unable or unwilling to make happen. This state of affairs is beyond comprehension. Congratulations to Governor Richardson, perhaps he should be giving the Iraq speech tonight.
Here, here, Mr.Jersey. Who else in 2008 offers this much to the American people? No one, very clearly.