BEIJING - China welcomed Sudan's acceptance of a joint African Union- United
Nations peacekeeping force for the country's troubled Darfur region.
A Sudanese diplomat in Ethiopia confirmed on Wednesday that Sudan has
accepted the mission after receiving assurances that a "hybrid" AU-UN force of
17,000 to 19,000 troops will not be open-ended and Sudan will remain in control
of its borders.
"China welcomes the deployment of a hybrid AU-UN force in Darfur and the
joint statement," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement posted
on the ministry's Web site late Wednesday.
"The facts have shown that dialogue and equal negotiation is an effective
approach to political solution of the Darfur issue, and the consultation between
AU, UN and Sudan is an effective mechanism," Qin said.
China recently appointed a special representative for Africa to focus on
Darfur, and has publicly urged Khartoum to give the UN a greater role in trying
to resolve the conflict.
The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when local rebels took up arms against the
Sudanese government, accusing it of decades of neglect. Sudanese leaders are
accused of unleashing the pro-government Arab militia, the janjaweed, to fight
them - a charge they deny.