Chinese delegation visits Darfur

Sudanese official says Darfur "stable and improving" despite "sporadic fighting".

    China, as a permanent Security Council member, is under pressure to influence Khartoum [GALLO/GETTY]

    As part of a four-day official visit, the delegation also travelled to a refugee camp where about 14,000 people were living in Nyala, in southern Darfur, and met Al-Haj Atta al-Mannan Idris, South Darfur's provincial governor.
    Idris said the general situation was "stable and improving", but "sporadic fighting" had still occurred between armed factions and tribes, Xinhua reported.
    Last week Cao Gangchuan, the Chinese defence minister, offered Haj Ahmed El Gaili, the Sudanese joint chief of staff, greater military co-operation, while also saying that Sudan should consider the peace proposal put forward by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general.
    China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has come under increasing pressure to use its influence with Khartoum to resolve the ethnic conflict that has left at least 200,000 dead and forced more than 2.5 million from their homes since 2003.
    China buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil and sells it weapons and military aircraft.
    On Saturday, Alpha Oumar Konare, the chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, met Omar al-Beshir, the Sudanese president, to discuss ways to resolve the situation in Darfur.
    Earlier, Konare and Said Djinnit, the AU security chief, met Minni Minnawi, who heads the main faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, the only group to sign a peace deal with Khartoum last year.
    Minnawi's men are suspected of having attacked and killed five Senegalese AU peacekeepers on April 1, bringing the number of peacekeepers killed in Darfur to 15 since they were first deployed in 2004.
    About 7,000 AU peacekeepers are stationed in Darfur.
    Al-Beshir has rejected the deployment of a UN force, which it was proposed last year would join the AU force, saying the West was plotting to invade his country and steal its resources.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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