China said yesterday that it opposed
expanded sanctions against Sudan as the United States unveiled tough new
restrictions against the African country and pushed for another UN resolution on
Liu Guijin, China's special envoy to
Africa, briefs reporters on his fact-finding visit to Sudan in Beijing May
29, 2007, and said China opposes expanded sanctions against Sudan.
"Imposing new sanctions only makes the problem more difficult to resolve,"
China's recently-appointed special envoy to Africa Liu Guijin told a news
conference after a fact-finding trip to Sudan.
Expanding sanctions is the last thing that should be done, especially at a
time when signs of progress can be seen in Darfur, including talks between
Khartoum, the African Union (AU) and the UN, Liu said.
circumstances, why can't the international community give more time for a
peaceful settlement of the problem?" he asked.
China is encouraging Sudan to be "more flexible" about implementing a peace
plan, and also wants fragmented opposition forces in Darfur to join talks and
reach a unified negotiating position, he added.
The Sudanese government gave the go-ahead in April for the second phase of
the peace plan - a "heavy support package" with 3,000 UN troops, police and
civilian personnel along with six attack helicopters and other equipment.
The third and final phase of the plan, agreed between the UN and Sudan in
November, foresees the deployment of a joint AU-UN force: 17,000 troops and
3,000 police officers.
Beijing said earlier this month it would send 270 military engineers - for a
UN force to bolster African Union peacekeepers already in Darfur - as an initial
step in the peace plan, which Sudan has accepted in principle.
Political negotiations should go hand in hand with the implementation of
former UN chief Kofi Annan's three-phase peace plan, Liu said.
Liu also urged some countries not to politicize Sino-Sudanese energy
collaboration, saying it was normal business activity and has, indeed, helped
social and economic development in the poverty-stricken country.
Liu said poverty is the real cause of the problems in Darfur; and development
is the solution.
Over the past years, China has donated more than $10 million to the region,
some in the form of humanitarian aid such as rice, and the rest in development
aid such as building schools, water projects and power generators.
In brief remarks at the White House yesterday, US President George W. Bush
followed through on a threat made six weeks ago to pursue tougher action against
Bush directed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to consult with Britain and
other allies on pursuing new UN Security Council sanctions against Sudan.
The aim of a new resolution, he said, would be to impose new sanctions
against the Sudanese government and officials found to be violating human rights
or obstructing the peace process, and to enforce an expanded embargo on arm
sales to the government of Sudan.
"It will prohibit the Sudanese government from conducting any offensive
military flights over Darfur. It will strengthen our ability to monitor and
report any violations," he added.
As part of the tightening of US sanctions, Bush said the US Treasury
Department will bar 31 companies owned or controlled by Sudan from doing
business in the US financial system, including a company he said that has been
transporting weapons to the Sudanese government and militia forces in Darfur.
Khartoum criticized the sanctions before they were even announced.
"I think these sanctions are not justified. It is not timely. We are
cooperating well with the United Nations," Mutrif Siddig, Sudanese
undersecretary for foreign affairs, said in Khartoum.
Agencies contributed to this story