China to be more constructive on Darfur

Updated: 2007-05-24 22:57

China is willing to play a more constructive role in Darfur, an envoy said, offering to provide more aid to victims of the Sudan conflict.

Envoy Liu Guijin, who left Sudan on Wednesday after a five-day visit, said he hoped the Khartoum government would be more flexible in implementing a U.N. peacekeeping plan.

"The Chinese envoy expressed his government's willingness to play a more constructive role in Darfur and to provide more humanitarian and development help for the Darfurian people," Xinhua said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Liu had told officials that China "hopes that Sudan will show greater flexibility in implementing the Annan plan, accelerating the political process in Darfur and further improving the humanitarian situation and security in Darfur."

Beijing said earlier this month it would commit 275 military engineers to a U.N. force to implement initial stages of the "Annan" peace plan, which involves bolstering African Union peacekeepers already in Darfur.

Sudan has so far agreed to accept just 3,500 U.N. personnel on top of the overstretched African Union force, but the full peace plan calls for a "hybrid force" of more than 20,000.

The United Nations estimates that about 200,000 people have died and more than 2 million have been made homeless since the conflict erupted in Darfur in 2003 when rebel groups took up arms against Khartoum, accusing it of neglect. Sudan says only 9,000 have died.

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