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China Supports UN, AU Efforts to Resolve Darfur Issue
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The Chinese government has all along supported the efforts made by the United Nations and the African Union (AU) to resolve the Darfur issue, China's special representative for Darfur said on Tuesday.


China also agrees with some of the basic advocations of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the settlement of the Darfur issue, Liu Guijin told reporters at the UN Headquarters.


Liu said China believes that the recent effort by the secretary-general to help fix a time and venue for negotiations between the Sudanese government and the opposition groups is "indeed helpful for the resolution of the Darfur issue."


"We support the resumption of negotiations for the peace of Darfur between the Sudanese government and the opposition groups," and the effort made by the UN and the AU, especially the mediation made by UN envoy Jan Eliasson and his AU counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim, Liu said.


"If there is an invitation, China will actively engage" and serve as a bridge or contact party so as to make its contribution with regard to peace and development in Darfur, he said.


The Chinese government is ready to make joint efforts with the international community to promote the settlement of the Darfur issue, he said.


China has in a very concrete way made its contributions to the resolution of the Darfur issue on various aspects, he said.


At present, a total of 1,400 Chinese troops are taking part in separate UN peacekeeping operations in seven African countries, including Sudan, where 415 Chinese peacekeepers are deployed in the south.


A 315-men multi-functional engineering unit from China, expected to be deployed in Darfur in early October, would be the first batch of UN-AU peacekeepers in place, Liu said.


China has been supporting the political process from the very outset and believes that the political process and peacekeeping are equally important, he said.


China has utilized all kinds of channels and talked to the Sudanese government and persuade them as an equal partner to accept the three-phase plan put forward by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, especially the hybrid peacekeeping operation, he said.


China has provided humanitarian and development assistance to the Darfur region and will continue to provide even more, he said.


For example, one Chinese company has completed a water supply project in southern Darfur which will also be utilized by the UN hybrid mission while another Chinese company is doing the same thing to supply water to northern Darfur. China is also preparing to build a hospital in Darfur and is also considering to send medical teams there.


Therefore, China have played "a very constructive and unique role" in the resolution of the Darfur issue, he stressed, adding that China's constructive role has won recognition by the United Nations, the African Union and many governments in the world including those of developed countries.


A former Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa, Liu was appointed as the Chinese government's special representative for Darfur in May.


Liu, who arrived in the UN Headquarters on Monday following a visit to Washington, has met senior UN officials and ambassadors from some African countries and exchanged views with them on the Darfur issue.


(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2007)

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