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China Calls for Peace in Darfur; Sudan Rejects UN Proposal
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Despite abstentions from China, Russia and Qatar, the UN proposal to create a peace-keeping operation in Darfur was passed only to find itself savaged by the Sudanese government. The proposal was vociferously condemned as 'illegal' and having been passed without 'consulting the Sudanese government.'


Although favoring a UN peace-keeping operation in Darfur to relieve the on-going African Union mission, Wang Guangya, China's Permanent Representative to the UN, stated that China has major concerns over the wording of the text and the timing of the vote, forcing it to abstain.


Following the vote, Wang expressed China's acceptance of almost every clause in the resolution, but that the Chinese side had urged the cosponsors to clearly put in "with the consent of the Government of National Unity" to the text, and to carefully reconsider the timing of their votes.


Wang said the Darfur Peace Agreement as having instilled new dynamics and offered new opportunities for resolving the Darfur issue. Unfortunately, the good momentum was not fully used by the parties involved, and the provisions of the agreement failed to yield adequate peace measures.


What is more alarming, he noted, is that the security situation and the humanitarian condition in Darfur have further deteriorated. AMIS, as the only peace-keeping force in Darfur, shoulders arduous tasks and is also confronted with enormous difficulties.


"To address and resolve the Darfur crisis, we need to bear in mind both the sense of urgency and sober assessment of the complexity. We need to demonstrate both the firm determination and corresponding patience, as well as effective approach," Wang said.


The Chinese ambassador stressed that the transition from AMIS to a UN mission can only be possible and the mission can only be deployed with the consent of the Sudanese government. This is the understanding and decision of the African Union and the Security Council respectively.  


Wang reiterated China's firm support for the peace process in Sudan. "We call upon all major parties to act in a good faith, show mutual respect and understanding, continue to conduct frank dialogue, increase mutual trust and reinforce cooperation, so as to create good political conditions for the final settlement of the Darfur issue," he said.


The Security Council adopted the resolution on Thursday to create a UN peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur region. China, Russia and Qatar abstained from the vote.


With the subsequent rejection of the proposal by Sudan, it seems that more than mere goodwill will be needed to get the peace process back on course. Few world conflicts can require such urgency from the world community with tens of thousands killed and over 2.5 millions forcefully displayed by the rebel forces.


Presidential Advisor Ali Tamim Fartak attacked the UN proposal as illegal and as having been built without the accord of the reigning Sudanese government. External observers have reported that the government's objections may spring from fears that the UN will arrest officials still in power for war crimes. The Darfur crisis has been described as genocide, a claim rejected by Khartoum but which is unlikely to carry much weight with the International Crimes Court (ICC) investigators.


(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2006)

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