On the second day of UNITY 2004, the nation’s largest gathering of ethnic journalists, U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powell commented on the Sudan crisis, where the government has been accused of helping Arab militants kill over 30,000 people and displace over 1 million “Black Africans."
The U.S. Congress has passed a bill to declare the crisis in the Dafur region of Sudan “genocide” – a crime punishable by international laws.
Although the Bush administration has yet to confirm the declaration, Powell said the government would still take the same actions toward helping Sudan if the situation was not genocide.
“Declaring it a genocide does not require or cause any action that we are not now taking or could not take right now without a declaration of genocide,” he said.
"We will work as hard as we can using all of our energy to bring relief to the suffering people of Sudan," Powell told the crowd.
“There are over one million people in need now,” he said. “We have not turned away.”
Powell told journalists that the State Department would make a decision within a couple of weeks whether the Sudan situation amounts to genocide.
On July 30, the United Nations set a 30-day deadline for the Sudanese government to show progress in ending the violence in Dafur.
President Bush also addressed the gathering on the same day.