Global Policy Forum

China Says Sanctions on Sudan Over Darfur

Associated Press
April 11, 2007

Sanctions on Sudan over the violence-wracked Darfur region would create new problems, China said Wednesday, urging the international community to work with Sudan on an equal footing to solve the crisis. China, which buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil exports and sells the African country weapons and military aircraft, has been criticized for not using its influence to do more to stop the Darfur crisis.

Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who just returned from a four-day trip to Sudan, repeated Beijing's position that Sudan should accept the peacekeeping plan proposed last year by then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "China hopes the international community can listen to the views and reasonable concerns of Sudan, and have equally footed consultation and dialogue with the Sudanese side," Zhai said at a news conference. He said this would be preferable to "sending a letter, for example, telling Sudan what to do. This is not fair to the Sudanese side." Zhai urged the international community not to take "hasty actions" such as imposing tougher sanctions against Sudan. "We're not in favor of increasing sanctions or expanding sanctions, because there is much hope for resolving this issue," Zhai said. "In the Darfur region the people are suffering," he said. "What we should do is help Sudan resolve this issue instead of creating new problems."

The relentless bloodshed in Darfur, as well as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's refusal to accept U.N. troops, has prompted the United States and Britain to push for tougher action against Sudan. In Sudan, Zhai's delegation met with al-Bashir and other officials, and spent a day in Darfur visiting camps for internally displaced people, he said. He said the Darfur region "enjoyed basic stability," but described living standards in the camps as "quite poor." "Many of the tents provided by the U.N. are now broken," he said. "But some of the refugees did not want to return home because they could not guarantee their safety."

Zhai also defended Beijing's support for Khartoum. China has played a positive role in helping the African nation, he said, adding that Beijing's donations in funds and development assistance to Sudan has totaled 80 million yuan (US$10.4 million; €7.75 million). At least 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes since the conflict there erupted four years ago between ethnic African rebels and the Arab-dominated central government.

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