China's role in Darfur positive

(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-02-18 06:58

KHARTOUM: China has been making persistent efforts to help resolve the Darfur crisis, Chinese ambassador to Sudan Li Chengwen said on Saturday.

Li's statement was in response to Steven Spielberg's decision to withdraw as the Beijing Olympics' artistic advisor by linking it to China's ties with Sudan.

China is very concerned over the Darfur issue, Li said, and has been trying to help resolve it.

The Chinese government has been working closely with the UN to end the crisis in Sudan's western region of Darfur through political means, he said.

On July 31 last year, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1769, authorizing the deployment of a UN and African Union (AU) "hybrid peacekeeping force" in Darfur, which was a breakthrough in the efforts to restore peace in the region.

China helped the Sudanese government, the UN and the AU reach a consensus on the "hybrid force", he said. The negotiations were tough and "our efforts have been applauded by the international community".

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The Chinese government made some proposals for a peaceful settlement of the Darfur issue, too, and they were approved by various parties, Li said.

Moreover, last year when Sudan and the UN differed over the deployment of the "hybrid force", China appointed veteran diplomat Liu Guijin as a special envoy on the issue. Liu visited Khartoum thrice to persuade the Sudanese government to accept the UN resolution.

Liu attended two peace talks on the Darfur issue, and kept traveling between the US and Africa - to major African countries, the UN and the AU offices, Arabian countries and the European Union - to facilitate communication and coordination among the parties involved in Darfur.

China has remained in constant touch with Sudan and held frequent discussions with its officials, but with full regard to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Chinese government tries to ensure that the international community listens to Sudan's concerns, and vice-versa.

Peace front

Beijing has taken active part in the "hybrid force's" peacekeeping efforts in Darfur. In fact, its 140-member advanced contingent, which reached there in November, was the first UN peacekeeping group in the region.

In order to improve the humanitarian situation in Darfur, China has given 80 million yuan ($11 million) worth of aid to Darfur, $1.8 million to the AU, and $500,000 to the UN fund, set up for resolving the Darfur issue.

The Chinese government has also encouraged entrepreneurs to help in Darfur's development. And many Chinese companies have already done so.

All these make it absolutely clear China has been playing its role in helping resolve the Darfur issue. Hence, it deserves objective and just treatment, Li said.


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