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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

China defends decision not to veto Darfur ICC referral

November 10, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Chinese government defended its decision not to block a UN Security Council resolution in 2005 referring the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends a news conference following the opening of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Sino-African Forum in Egypt, at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, November 8, 2009 (Reuters)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends a news conference following the opening of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Sino-African Forum in Egypt, at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, November 8, 2009 (Reuters)
Beijing, despite being a strong ally of Khartoum, abstained from voting on the resolution outraging Sudanese officials who accused China of failing to “protect its friends”.

Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao was asked by reporters following the opening ceremony of the China-Africa Forum last Sunday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, why his government “sometimes decline to give full support to Africa” citing the ICC referral case.

“The blame you [reporter] laid on China over the issue of the Sudan is unfounded. Besides, I wish to emphasize that China’s position on the UN Security Council reform is consistent and clear-cut. The Security Council should increase the say and representation of developing countries, particularly African countries. We have done a lot to achieve this goal” Jiabao said.

The Sudanese second Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha told Sudan’s cabinet he had Chinese assurances that resolution 1593 would not be passed, a source close to the presidency told Reuters on December 17 2005.

“He was confident it would not get through and told them not to worry,” he said. Their abstention rather than a veto embarrassed Taha within the government, the presidency source said.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir last March drawing heavy criticism from Beijing which argued that the move “is counterproductive”.

However, the Chinese special envoy to Sudan Liu Guijin said earlier this year that his government have no intentions of tabling a UNSC resolution to freeze the warrant and instead urged African countries on the council to do so.

(ST)