China maintains constructive role in Sudan peace process

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China expressed on Tuesday its willingness to maintain a positive and constructive role in promoting the peace process between the north and south sides of Sudan.

"China is happy to see an agreement has been achieved by the Sudanese government and the south Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on the disputed Abyei region," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press briefing.

Representatives from the government of Sudan and their counterparts from the SPLM, representing southern Sudan, reached an agreement Monday in Ethiopia that provides for temporary administrative arrangements for oil-rich Abyei and the withdrawal of troops from both sides.

China appreciates the efforts made in this regard by both sides as well as the African Union, Hong said.

China hopes both sides can stick to the peaceful decision to solve relevant differences through negotiations in order to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and safeguard peace in Sudan, he said.

Abyei, a border area that both sides have made claims to, has been occupied since the Sudanese Armed Forces of Khartoum entered on May 21 in retaliation for an attack a few days earlier by the south's Sudanese People's Liberation Army that killed 22 people.

Hong said China has followed closely the development of the situation since the conflict broke out.

"China's special envoy on African affairs Liu Guijin recently made a special visit to Sudan to work for the reconciliation and promote peace talks," Hong said, adding that China also made efforts on multilateral occasions, including in the UN Security Council.

China's positive contribution was well received by relevant parties, Hong said.

Southern Sudan will become an independent state on July 9 following a referendum in January in which southerners voted overwhelmingly to secede.

A referendum on Abyei was supposed to be held in January, corresponding with the south Sudan referendum, but it was postponed because of a difference between the two sides over who has the right to vote in the referendum.

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