China on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to suspend the International Criminal Court (ICC)'s indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya made the appeal after the 15-member body adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN-African Union peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which expires Thursday.
In the resolution, the council also took note of the African Union's July 21 communique as well as its concerns "regarding potential developments subsequent to" ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's request for al-Bashir's arrest.
Wang said the parties involved in the Darfur peace process are currently engaged in vigorous political efforts to resolve the issue, and that no headway would be possible without the full cooperation of the Sudanese government.
"The proposed indictment of the Sudanese leader by the ICC prosecutor is an inappropriate decision made at an inappropriate time," Wang said. "It will seriously undermine the mutual political trust and cooperation between the UN and the Sudanese government."
The ICC indictment "inevitably came under intense criticism from many countries represented by important international organizations" such as the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-aligned Movement, he added.
"China is of the view that...ICC indictment of the Sudanese leader will only derail the process for resolving the Darfur issue and even render useless all the efforts made so far for the proper settlement of the issue," Wang emphasized.
"China supports the reasonable request by the African Union and other organizations for the council to take early measures in accordance with the relevant provisions to suspend ICC's indictment of the Sudanese leader," he said.
Wang noted that Chinese peacekeepers are already on the frontlines of the international peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
"The Chinese government is duty bound to create favorable conditions for them to carry out the international peacekeeping mission safely and smoothly," he added.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2008)