Thu, May 24, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Threat of sanctions unhelpful: China's Darfur peace envoy

AP , KHARTOUM

The visiting Chinese envoy for peace in Sudan warned on Tuesday against threatening Khartoum with sanctions over the Darfur crisis and said confrontation would only prolong the suffering of Darfurians, according to the official Sudanese news agency.

Envoy Liu Guijin (劉貴今) visited El-Fasher, the capital of the state of North Darfur, and had a series of meetings with local government officials on Tuesday before touring the massive Abu Shouk and As-Salam refugee camps where some 100,000 now live on the outskirts of the town.

Liu was quoted by the SUNA news agency as calling on the international community to extend humanitarian aid and support Sudan's development rather than enforce economic sanctions.

Suffering

"Waving the threat of sanctions in the face of the Sudan would not contribute to solving the Darfur problem, but would further complicate the situation and prolong the suffering" of Darfur's 2.5 million refugees and of the general population, SUNA reported Liu as saying.

Liu added that his country was playing an active role in solving the Darfur conflict through dialogue and consultation with all concerned parties.

The envoy said China had offered an additional financial assistance of US$80 million for Darfur, out of which he said the first two of four installments have already been paid.

His visit came as the US and other Western nations are threatening to push for harsher sanctions against the Sudanese government, accused of masterminding a counterinsurgency campaign that has led to the death of over 200,000 people since 2003.

China has come under increased pressure to push Khartoum for an improvement of the situation in Darfur as it braces for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A key diplomatic ally for Khartoum at the UN Security Council, China buys two-thirds of Sudanese oil and is accused of selling the government weapons then used in Darfur despite a UN embargo.

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