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On the issue of Darfur, Sudan

2008/03/13

China's Position on the issue of Darfur, Sudan

March 2008

I. Origin of the Darfur issue.

Darfur is a tribal region in western Sudan. A part of the greater Sahara region, Darfur is mostly desert, and there are only scattered patches of land suitable for agriculture in the region. During the 1960s and 1970s, continued droughts and desertification led to frequent tribal conflicts over water, pasture and farmland among farmers and herdsmen. The escalation of these clashes caused the security situation in the region to deteriorate and eventually triggered large-scale conflict between armed rebel groups in Darfur and government forces in 2003, making Darfur a hotspot issue of international attention, Caused by scarcity of natural resources, poverty and backwardness, the Darfur issue is in essence, a development issue, and can only be resolved through reconstruction and development.

II. China's position on the Darfur issue.

The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan should be respected and a political solution to the Darfur issue through dialogue and consultation on an equal footing should be sought. The "trilateral mechanism" comprising the United Nations, the African Union and the Sudanese Government should play a leading role, and the peacekeeping operation, and the political process in Darfur should be promoted in a balanced manner. The international community should help Sudan improve the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur and provide reconstruction and development assistance so as to restore peace and stability in the region at an early date and promote its development. China has given the most unequivocal support to the trilateral mechanism and is a strong advocate of the "dual-track strategy". And it was the first country outside Africa to send peacekeepers to Darfur.

III. The Special Representative of the Chinese government for Darfur plays and important role in promoting a proper settlement of the Darfur issue.

The Chinese Government appointed a special representative for Darfur in May 2007 to strengthen dialogue and coordination with the stakeholders and promote an early and proper settlement of the Darfur issue. Ambassador Liu Guijin, the Special representative, has visited Sudan four times, including two visits to Darfur. In carrying out the mission, he has also visited Europe, the United States, some African countries and the UN, the AU, the Arab League, and the European Union. He has actively participated in international meetings on Darfur, and has maintained close contact and consultation with various parties through meetings, telephone calls and correspondence; He has made unremitting efforts and played a constructive role in seeking a proper settlement of the Darfur issue.

IV. China's efforts to promote peacekeeping operations in Darfur.

China is deeply concerned about the situation in Darfur and is committed to an early and proper settlement of the issue. China has engaged extensively with various parties through visits, telephone calls, correspondence, international meetings and coordination efforts at the UN to narrow differences and increase mutual trust among them. China worked with the relevant parties to bring about an agreement among the UN, the AU, and the Sudanese Government on the deployment of UN/AU "hybrid mission" in Darfur. Thanks to China's efforts when it held the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in July 2007, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1769, a major step forward in the international efforts to resolve the Darfur issue.

At the request of the UN, China decided to send a 315-member multi-functional engineering unit to Darfur, and a 140-member advance team is already on the ground. The rest of the unit will be deployed in the near future under the UN plan. By the end of February 2008, the advance had paved 1,200 meters of roads, leveled 70,000 square meters of ground, built 1,050 meters of fences, completed 9,370 cubic meters of earth work, and installed 24 road lamps and searchlights. It has also helped "hybrid mission" units from other countries to construct barracks, leveling 40,000 square meters of ground, building 900 meters of fences, finishing 4,100 cubic meters of earth work, building eight fortifications and emplacements, and filling up 4,800 sandbags. Its work is greatly appreciated by the UN and the AU. China had contributed US $1.8 million to the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) by the end of 2006.

V. China's support for the political process in Darfur.

China has consistently called for making balanced progress in both peace-keeping operation and the political process in Darfur. As there is lack of progress on the political front, the international community should intensify its efforts to advance the political process. China supports the efforts by the two special envoys of the UN and the AU in this regard and has decided to contribute US$500,000 to the UN trust fund to support their mediation efforts. Ambassador Liu Guijin attended the peace conference between the Sudanese Government and opposition groups in Darfur held in Sirte, Libyu in October 2007, and met representatives of the opposition groups. China has actively worked for the early resumption of negotiations between the Sudanese Government and the opposition groups, and it urges them to reach a comprehensive peace agreement through dialogue and consultation. China will continue to work with other stakeholders to move forward the political process in Darfur.

VI. China's efforts in improving the humanitarian situation in Darfur.

China has made great efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Darfur and played an active part in the reconstruction and development of the region. The Chinese government has honored its commitment to the region. It has provided five batches of humanitarian assistance supplies worth 80 million yuan(about US $11 million), including medical vehicles and equipments and a large number of tents, water pumps, power generators and rugs. These supplies have eased difficulties facing the local people.

Chinese companies operating in Sudan have also undertaken assistance projects to improve the well-being of the people in Darfur. Since 2000, Chinese companies have built 20 power stations and drilled 46 wells in Darfur and donated a large amount of equipment to local schools, including movable board houses, distance learning systems, fully-equipped computer labs, computers and teaching instruments. These efforts have eased the shortage of drinking water, contributed to the development of agriculture and animal husbandry and supported education in Darfur. Chinese companies are building an 85-kilometer long water supply project in South Darfur state. Chinese companies will also drill ten more wells and donate funds for a number of training centers in Darfur. China will continue to provide humanitarian and development assistance to the region.

VII. How China sees the current situation in Darfur.

Recently, progress has been made in resolving the Darfur issue thanks to the concerted efforts of all stakeholders. The UN and the Sudanese Government reached basic agreement on the status of forces agreement (SOFA) and other related issues. Progress is being made in the deployment of the hybrid missions. And all the stakeholders are working to move forward the political process.

China appreciates the efforts made by the UN, the AU and the Sudanese Government towards this goal, China hopes all the stakeholders will enhance mutual trust through communication and consultation, continue to give full play to the leading role of tri-lateral mechanism, address related issues through dialogue and consultation on an equal footing and avoid politicizing, technical issues. China supports the mediation efforts of the two special envoys of the UN and the AU and hopes that all the stakeholders will intensify efforts to advance the political process. China urges opposition groups in Darfur to join in the peace process and reach a comprehensive peace accord with the Sudanese Government. This will enable the political process to move forward in parallel with the deployment of the peace-keeping mission and create conditions for restoring peace and stability and achieve development in Darfur.

VIII. China's position on the Darfur issue during the UN Security Council deliberations.

China calls for resolving international and regional issues through dialogue and consultation. China is opposed to the practice of willfully imposing pressure and sanctions or resorting to the threat of force, for pressure and sanctions only complicate issues instead of resolving them. Measures taken by the Security Council should both reflect the common will of the international community and accommodate the legitimate concerns of Sudan and help bring about the eventual resolution of the Darfur issue.

China is a permanent member of the Security Council and a responsible big country. China decides its position on issues according to their own merits. The efforts made by China to seek a resolution of the Darfur issue are recognized by all.

IX. China is firmly opposed to linking the Darfur issue with the Beijing Olympic Games.

Darfur is a regional hotspot issue while the Beijing Olympic Games is a sports event for the whole world. To link the two runs counter to the Olympic spirit and the universally recognized principle of not politicizing sports. It is also against the wish of the people of the whole world who want to see a successful Olympic Games.

Darfur is Sudan's domestic affair. It is not a Chinese issue, nor is it created by China. We hope all the people and groups who take an interest in this issue will see China's constructive role in helping resolve the Darfur issue in and objective and fair way and stop unwarranted charges against China, do more to help the people in Darfur, and take credible actions to help bring about an early settlement of the issue.

The Beijing Olympic Games is a major sports event for the whole world. The Chinese Government and people warmly welcome athletes and friends from across the world to Beijing for the Games. We are confident that with the concerted efforts of the international community, the Beijing Olympic Games will be a unique and high-standard event.

X. China's policy on arms sales to Sudan.

The Chinese Government's position on the export of military items is a prudent and responsible one. It follows the principle that such export should enhance the legitimate self-defense capability of the recipient country, that it will not harm peace, security and stability of the region and world, and that it should not constitute interference in the internal affairs of the recipient country.

The Chinese Government strictly complies with UN Security Council resolution and never exports weapons to countries or regions under Security Council arms embargo. China has normal conventional arms trade with Sudan. The limited military items that china exports to Sudan are all conventional weapons and only account for a small part of Sudan's total arms import. And we have made it clear to Sudan that weapons imported from China must not be used in Darfur.

XI. China's oil cooperation with Sudan.

Only 6% of China's oil import is from Sudan. China's oil cooperation with Sudan is based on mutual benefit and is for common development. China has built an oil field with an annual production capacity of 27 million tons and laid 3,500 kilometers of pipelines in Sudan, thus helping Sudan establish a full-fledged oil industry from scratch. Chinese oil companies have launched assistance projects in Sudan to improve the well-being of the local people. They have created a large number of job opportunities through investment and trained over 6,000 managerial and technical personnel for Sudan. Chinese oil companies have donated over US $ 36 million to Sudan, which have been used for building schools, hospitals and other infrastructure facilities. Their contributions are fully recognized by the local people.

China's oil cooperation with Sudan has boosted local economic and social development, strengthened bilateral friendship and cooperation and brought great benefit to the two peoples.

XII. China's position on the Darfur issue complies with the principle of non-interference in internal affairs.

Sudan's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be fully respected and a proper settlement should be achieved through dialogue and consultation on an equal footing. This is china's consistent position on the Darfur issue. China is opposed to willfully exerting pressure on a country or interfering in its internal affairs.

China has a profound traditional friendship with Sudan. The two people enjoy mutual trust and have helped each other over the years. China has, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, given constructive advice to Sudan on the Darfur issue and helped it strengthen consultation and coordination with other stakeholders. We have done so as a friend, and our aim is to achieve durable stability and development in Sudan. We have also made the decision to send a multi-funcitonal engineering unit to the peacekeeping mission in Darfur, provided humanitarian assistance to Darfur on many occasions and taken an active part in local reconstruction and economic development, thereby playing a constructive role in resolving the issue. All this fully demonstrates China's commitment to the principle of non-interference on the Darfur issue.

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