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Ranking Member Risch Opening Statement at Hearing on Conflict and Humanitarian Emergency in Sudan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today gave the following opening remarks at a full committee hearing on conflict and humanitarian emergency in Sudan. Witnesses included The Honorable Tom Perriello, U.S. special envoy for Sudan.

Ranking Member Risch gave the following remarks:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

“The chairman and I are in full agreement that you have a herculean task in front of you and we need some answers – we really do.

“Every time we hold a hearing on Sudan, we talk about how the situation has worsened. Despite these public discussions and routine briefings from State, the administration hasn’t actually made any tangible progress in improving or solving the problem.

“Congress continues to show leadership on Sudan, but the administration isn't doing its part. For over two years, I have urged the administration to clearly state its Sudan policy. After 27 months of waiting, during which another coup and a civil war has ignited in Sudan, I'm appalled by the administration's continued failure to present a clear, comprehensive plan of action to this committee. Admittedly that is a difficult task, but it needs to be done.

“Special Envoy Perriello, it is incumbent upon you to break this cycle of indecision and give us a comprehensive plan – please. The American people, the Sudanese people, our allies, and this committee need to know how the U.S. will help end the war, thereby also bringing an end to the suffering of millions, and holding those responsible to account.

“This committee also needs to hear how the Department is preparing for and mitigating the worst-case scenario.

“The potential for more significant famine, genocidal acts, state collapse, and fragmentation of fighting backed by more regional proxies are real possibilities. This scenario not only has grave implications for the region, but also for the national security of the U.S. and our allies.

“As soon as the conflict in Sudan began in April 2023, I repeatedly called for a special envoy – I wrote letters to the president, put out multiple public statements, and even led a joint Senate and House resolution – all of which I’d like to enter into the record.

“Despite these efforts, it took 10 months for the administration to appoint you. Even then, you have only been appointed for six months to sidestep the law on serious envoys. You have limited resources and a patchwork of support staff assisting you across multiple State Department bureaus. This is not what we called for.

“Your mission is difficult. The administration's response to the crisis in Sudan has been weak. Compared to its efforts in regional crises like Gaza and Ukraine, the administration has shown no leadership in Sudan. The emergency diplomacy with Saudi Arabia in Jeddah has repeatedly failed, yet you're recommending another round of talks. Although talks can be important, this committee needs to know how these talks will be different and how you will actually achieve something.

“I'd also like to understand how your engagement and travels to Europe and the Gulf have yielded a change in approach by our partners to rein in and disrupt the actions of outside actors like the UAE, Iran, and Russia. These actors have descended upon Sudan like vultures, picking away at the last vestiges of the state, extracting the country's precious resources, and fueling this war for their own ends.

“Please don’t spend your time today telling us how bad the situation is – we already know that, and the world knows that. In this limited time today, we need to hear the administration's specific, very specific, actionable plans on how to get out of this crisis and details on how the U.S. will stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

“Can you promise we'll see bold and resolute action from the U.S.? Will you support my resolution that declares the atrocities in Darfur and other parts of Sudan as genocide? Do you support Global Magnitsky sanctions on General Hemetti and the RSF for the death and destruction they've caused? If not, we'll be back here in 12 months, counting more lives lost to greed, hatred, and incompetence.

“This committee, I believe, on both sides of the aisle, is anxious to hear an actual way forward. Again, you have a difficult task.

“With that, I yield back. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

These remarks have been lightly edited for clarity. Witness testimony is available on