Team to join UN forces in Darfur

By Qiang Pen (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-09 07:02

China plans to send an engineering unit to Sudan as part of a planned UN deployment to bolster the African Union peacekeeping force in the Darfur region, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

The detachment would help implement the "Annan peace plan", which proposes putting UN forces alongside African Union forces already in Darfur, spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news conference.

"China is willing to work with the rest of the international community for peace and stability in Darfur at an early date," Jiang said.

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"Under current circumstances, the parties concerned should keep pushing forward the political process in Darfur and phase in the Annan plan, instead of taking any action to escalate the situation," she said

Jiang did not give any specifics about numbers or the date of the deployment.

But Washington said on Monday that Beijing would send about 300 engineers for the "hybrid" force to try to halt the violence, which the United Nations says has killed about 200,000 people and displaced some 2.5 million since 2003.

"We see this as a positive development, and we appreciate China's contribution in the international effort to stop the violence in Darfur," US State Department press officer Gonzalo Gallegos said on Monday.

The UN Security Council in August approved a "hybrid" force of more than 20,000 troops and police to be deployed in Darfur.

Sudan agreed recently to a "heavy support package" for the African Union troops in Darfur that would include some 3,500 military and police personnel.

Responding to question on weapons sales to African countries, Jiang said China had always taken a prudent and responsible attitude on arms exports, only exporting weapons to sovereign countries rather than other entities or individuals.

China also requires importing countries to identify the final intended use of the weapons, and requests them not to transfer imported weapons to third countries, she said.

China strictly abides by UN resolutions and has never exported weapons to countries and regions on which the UN has imposed arms embargoes, she said, adding the amount of China's arms exports to Africa was quite limited.

Agencies contributed to this story

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