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Sudan's president lauds China's efforts in Darfur issue
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Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Wednesday told the Chinese government's visiting special representative for Darfur, Liu Guijin, that Sudan was grateful for China's unremitting efforts to push forward the settlement of the Darfur issue, Liu said.

According to the envoy, al-Bashir said that the Darfur issue was Sudan's affair and resolving the Darfur issue was a top priority for his government.

Al-Bashir said Sudan would spare no efforts to resolve the issue as soon as possible and Sudan hoped the international community would help Sudan, Liu told Xinhua.

The president said his government has been actively cooperating with the UN and the African Union (AU) in their mediating efforts and seeking to resolve the issue through dialogue with Darfur's rebel groups and other parties concerned, the envoy said.

Liu quoted al-Bashir as saying that the Sudanese government is also devoted to improving the humanitarian situation in Darfur and has been trying best to facilitate humanitarian assistance by international aid groups.

Currently, there are over 17,000 volunteers, including 2,000 foreigners, and more than 200 international aid groups in Darfur to provide assistance, according to the president.

Liu told reporters after the meeting that China appreciated the efforts made by the Sudanese government in trying to resolve the Darfur issue and its willingness to cooperate with the international community on certain technical problems.

"There are still challenges and difficulties and problems. So we need concerted efforts from every stakeholder for the settlement of the issue," Liu said.

"We need not only efforts from the Sudanese government, but also cooperation from Darfur's resistance forces for the political process," he said.

"We also needed joint efforts from the UN and the AU ... to make the best use of the three-party coordination and consultation mechanism to overcome the difficulties and problems of the technical nature over the deployment of the hybrid peacekeeping forces," he said.

He urged the international community to speak in one voice to show that "we are committed, and we are supporting both the deployment of the hybrid peacekeeping forces and the political process in Darfur."

The international community needs to "support the two envoys, UN special envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson and AU special envoy Salim Ahmed Salim, as they are trying to bring together all the political stakeholders, all the resistance forces, and also to consider the interests of people living in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Darfur."

"Except the political solution, there are no other possible ways to solve the problem," Liu added.

Before al-Bashir, Liu met with Sudanese Presidential Assistant Nafie Ali Nafie and Sudanese presidential advisor Mustafa Osman Ismail.

Liu, who arrived in the Sudanese capital early Sunday after visiting Britain, is currently on a four-day visit to Sudan. It is his fourth visit to Africa's largest nation since his appointment last May.

On Tuesday, Liu flew into South Darfur's capital city Nyala fora one-day visit to assess security and humanitarian situations there. It was his second visit to Darfur since his appointment.

Liu, a 62-year-old veteran diplomat and former Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa, has been engaged in African affairs for more than 25 years.

Since assuming his current post, he has paid three visits to Sudan and also shuttled between the United States, Britain, Egypt and other countries concerned, making unremitting efforts to resolve the Darfur issue.

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2008)

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