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Special Envoy Says Darfur Issue Needs More Efforts
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Visiting China's special representative for Darfur Liu Guijin said on Thursday that the Darfur issue called for more efforts in three main spheres and three principles should be adhered to during the process.


"The Darfur issue is more about development," Liu told a press conference held at the Chinese embassy in the Egyptian capital.


More efforts needed in three main spheres


Liu said China appreciated the latest positive development in the Darfur issue after a joint statement was issued on June 12 in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia by the African Union (AU), UN and Sudan unending a hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping force to Darfur.


"China welcomes the latest positive trend in the Darfur issue," Liu said.


Yet the newly-appointed envoy said that currently there were three main spheres calling for more efforts from various parties to push forward with the solving of the Darfur issue.


Firstly, Liu said, the international community should work together to push for the comprehensive implementation of the three-phased support plan, also known as the Annan plan, which was drawn up by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.


"The UN should adopt a resolution to support this plan and provide funds, while African countries should deploy more peacekeeping forces and other countries make their own contributions with the consent of the Sudanese government," Liu said.


Secondly, the political process of the Darfur issue should be given with more attention, he said.


Only after the rebel holdouts of the Darfur Peace Agreement, which was signed in the Nigerian capital of Abuja in 2006 between the Sudanese government and a main rebel faction, sit down and make serious negotiations, could a long-term political solution be achieved, said the envoy.


Thirdly, Darfur was faced with severe problems in the humanitarian and security situation despite many improvements, so the international community should provide more assistance to Darfur, said Liu.


Adhering to three principles


To achieve a final solution to the Darfur issue, all parties concerned should stick to three principles in their efforts to help solve the issue, Liu said.


Firstly, a political solution was the only effective approach to the Darfur issue, he said.


"Sanctions or pressures cannot solve the problem but will only complicate the situation and send incorrect signals to the Sudanese government after positive trends already appear in the development of the issue," Liu noted.


Secondly, "we support the leading role of the AU under the framework of the effective three-party AU-UN-Sudan consultation mechanism, with the Arab League playing a unique role. Other proposals and suggestions from the international community should conform with the three-party mechanism," Liu said.


Thirdly, Liu stressed, Sudan's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected during the whole process, while concerns of other parties should also be addressed.


The international community should encourage the positive attitude of the Sudanese government because there won't be a final solution without the government's support.


Development being Darfur's main problem


Liu asserted that China has been playing an active and constructive role and would like to continue making extensive contacts with concerned parties to help solve the Darfur issue.


China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has been closely cooperating with the UN, AU and the Sudanese government on the Darfur issue, he said.


China was committed to sending 275 engineering troops to Darfur to support the second phase of the Annan plan, as well as US$10 million and other humanitarian support to Darfur, he added.


In response to Xinhua questions, Liu said China had provided US$30 million in development assistance to Sudan, and that China's investment by oil companies had helped Sudan develop more sophisticated oil exploration and refinery businesses.


Terming them as "normal commercial deals," which were transparent and open based on equality and mutual benefit, the Chinese envoy dismissed reports of politicizing the cooperation between China and Sudan in oil sectors as "baseless and groundless."


"Shortage of resources, which pushes local tribes to vie for water and land, was the key problem in Darfur," he said, adding that development and poverty were the key problems facing Darfur.


He called on the international community to provide not only humanitarian assistance but also aid for economic and social growth in Sudan.


Liu, who arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, is currently on a several-day visit to Africa, which already took him to South Africa and Ethiopia before Egypt. Liu is scheduled to leave for Sudan on Friday.


(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2007)

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