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Sudan Tribune

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China opposes U.N. sanctions against Sudan

BEIJING, Mar 31, 2005 (AP) — China said Thursday it opposes U.N. sanctions on Sudan and expressed hope that peacekeeping forces could restore order to the African country’s troubled Darfur region.

Liu_Jianchao.jpg“Both the Sudanese government and the international community should make efforts to resolve the Darfur issue,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. “We don’t support sanctions or constant pressure. It’s no good for a peaceful resolution of the issue.”

China was responding to a U.N. Security Council vote Tuesday to widen an embargo on armed groups in Darfur to include Sudan ‘s government, requiring it to get permission to move weapons into the vast western region.

China abstained from voting on that U.S.-backed resolution, which passed 12-0. Beijing holds one of five permanent Security Council seats with power to veto U.N. action.

Beijing has expanded relations with Khartoum in recent years even as other governments isolated the Sudanese leadership over complaints of abuses in Darfur and elsewhere. China is eager for access to Sudan ‘s oil resources to fuel its booming economy.

An estimated 180,000 people have died in the Darfur conflict since two rebel groups took up arms against the Arab-led government in February 2003 to win more rights for the region’s African tribes.

The Security Council vote was the latest step in drawn-out efforts to deal with the Darfur crisis.

Last week, the council voted unanimously to create a peacekeeping mission to monitor a deal that ended a 21-year conflict in southern Sudan unrelated to Darfur.

China voted for that resolution and announced Wednesday it would send military engineering, medical and transport teams to join the U.N. mission, as well as military observers, civil policemen and political officials.

“We hope the peacekeeping will be able to fulfill their role of restoring peace and stability as soon as possible,” Liu said.

Meanwhile, the Security Council was expected to vote later Thursday on a resolution that would authorize the prosecution of Sudanese war crimes suspects by the International Criminal Court.