The international community should work together to support the
"fast and smooth" implementation of the newly announced agreement
to send a joint peacekeeping force to Sudan's Darfur region,
China's special representative Liu Guijin said over the
The political process with all parties involved should continue
in order to help restore lasting peace in the troubled areas, he
said after discussions with South African Deputy Foreign Minister
Aziz Pahad and other foreign ministry officials in the South
African capital on Friday.
Liu was in South Africa as part of a continental tour of
consultations after the Sudanese government on Tuesday accepted the
deployment of a joint African Union-United Nations force of between
17,000 and 19,000 troops in Darfur.
Liu said both the Chinese and South African governments welcomed
the decision, which was announced after a closed-door meeting of
the UN, AU and the Sudanese government in Addis Ababa, the capital
of Ethiopia, last week.
"China and South Africa hold similar views with regard to the
Darfur issue ... We need to give encouragement to the flexible
attitude demonstrated in the recent meeting in Addis Ababa," Liu
told a media briefing.
The newly appointed Chinese envoy, who made a fact-finding trip
to Darfur last month, said this was achieved thanks to efforts of
the international community.
"Now the Sudanese government has responded positively," he
The deployment of the joint peacekeeping troop is the final part
of a three-phase support plan, also known as the Annan plan as it
was put forward by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, which
aims to end the armed conflict in Darfur.
The AU, UN and Sudanese government agreed on the plan in
November. With the first phase of the plan already under way, Sudan
announced on April 16 that it approved the inauguration of the
second phase, which involves the deployment of 3,000 UN troops and
six attack helicopters in Darfur to support the 7,800-strong
African force, as well as being a preparation for the next
The Sudanese government has been accused by the US of delaying
the deployment of the joint force. But Khartoum strongly requested
the joint force must be predominantly African.
Liu said the international community should now concentrate on
how to support the deployment of the peacekeeping troop.
He said 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, including sending 275 engineering
troops to the region to support the second phase of the Annan plan,
as well as $10 million and other humanitarian support.
"We have been playing the role of a bridge ... We have been
trying to give advise and to persuade Sudan to be more flexible to
accept the UN plan," Liu said.
He said he would also hold talks with the AU Commission Chairman
Alpha Oumar Konare in Addis Ababa, with officials of the Arab
League during his visit to Egypt, and make another visit to
Liu said China opposed a move to impose sanctions on Sudan,
which the United States threatened to use.
"We do not need to rush to impose more sanctions," he said. "Now
is not the proper time. Peace has a future. We need to work
together and help the newly deployed AU-UN joint operation."
The diplomat also shrugged off the accusation that China had
resisted exerting pressure on Khartoum due to oil interests in
"Pressure cannot solve anything," he said. "No matter how many
troops you send, without a political presence and cooperation of
the government, you cannot find a long-lasting solution.
"I think up to now we have been quite successful," he said.
He said China's normal ties with Sudan have been "unnecessarily
politicized," which was "unfair and irrational."
He said China will continue to help with water-supply projects
and establishing agriculture technology centers in Sudan to help
the country realize its social and economic development, which "we
regard as the root cause of the armed conflict and humanitarian
(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2007)