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China's Arms Sales to Sudan Are Limited: Envoy
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China's arms sales to Sudan are limited and strictly abide by international rules, the nation's special envoy on Darfur Liu Guijin said yesterday.

Liu made the remarks at a news briefing in Beijing in response to questions about China's weapon exports to Sudan.

"I can assure you that China has applied strict criteria in exporting weapons to Sudan," he said, adding that China is "only one of the countries that has sold weapons to Sudan and not a major exporter".

"We will do our best to prevent the weapons from falling into the wrong hands and from doing the wrong things," Liu went on.

Liu, fresh from meetings in Africa and Europe and visits to African countries including Sudan, said China's role had been crucial in persuading Sudan to accept a planned "hybrid" peacekeeping force for Darfur combining African Union troops with UN forces.

Sudan has accepted the first two phases of the plan, and in June dropped opposition to the projected third phase, which will involve a joint UN-AU force of more than 20,000 troops and police under AU command.

"This (progress) was inseparable from the work the Chinese government did," Liu said.

Chinese officials, including President Hu Jintao, have lobbied Sudanese officials to accept the plan, which is in their "long-term and immediate interests," he said.

The United Nations and African Union hailed the June agreement as a breakthrough.

China will send 270 military engineers - for a UN force to bolster African Union peacekeepers already in Darfur - as an initial step in the peace plan, which Sudan has accepted in principle.

"China's policy and stance on the Darfur issue has won wide-ranging recognition in the international community, particularly among African countries," Liu said.

The key to the resolution of the Darfur issue is to promote the political solution process so as to improve the humanitarian situation there, he added.

Liu suggested Beijing could give more backing to African Union countries "based on what is needed".

He also dismissed the claim made by some people that the Beijing Olympic Games should be linked with China's policy on Darfur as "sheer nonsense".

"Most of the people who harbor such a claim know little about China's efforts on the Darfur issue and some of them harbor a cold-war mentality and take a distorted view," he told the news briefing.

"The fundamental spirit and principle of the Olympics is the non-politicalization of sport, and those people's claim to connect the Olympics with the Darfur issue is sheer nonsense," he said.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2007)

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