China opposes UN Darfur report

Beijing objects to claims that Chinese bullets were used in attacks on UN peacekeepers in western Sudanese region.

    The UN report claims that bullet casings found at the scene of attacks on UN troops in Darfur were made in China [EPA]

    China will try to prevent the publication of a United Nations report that alleges Chinese bullets were used in attacks on UN peacekeepers in Darfur.

    The report was discussed at a UN committee that monitors sanctions against Sudan, including an arms embargo against the Darfur region, on Wednesday.

    Under the 2005 embargo, arms sales to Sudan are legal but the Khartoum government must give guarantees that the supplies will not end up in Darfur, where the UN estimates that at least 300,000 people have been killed since rebels took arms against the government in 2003.

    According to diplomats, the report says that bullet casings found at the scene of attacks on UN troops were made in China, Sudan and Israel.

    But Zhao Baogang, a Chinese representative to the UN, criticised the conclusions of the report, saying it "is full of flaws with too many unconfirmed facts".

    "Where did they get the informed sources? No evidence is given.

    "The report lacks confirmed facts, how can we agree on those recommendations? We ask them to improve the work of the methodology," Zhao said.

    It was unclear if the report was able to establish if the bullets were supplied directly to Sudan or were bought elsewhere on the African arms market.

    'Major flaw'

    The full details of the accusations are likely to be revealed next week when the report will be submitted to the Security Council.

    "China has always argued that it abides by the embargo rules in its arms sales to Sudan, equally human rights groups have long accused China of allowing its military equipment to end up in the Darfur conflict," Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Beijing, said.

    "According to the embargo all states should take the necessarily steps to prevent the supplies of arms in the region.

    "Many say that it is a major flaw in this embargo by allowing weapons sales to Sudan as long as the government can guarantee that no arms will be used in Darfur, it is a difficult task for external government to police."

    Fawcett also said that China has very strong interest in Sudan, which produces half a million barrels of oil a day. Beijing is its biggest customer.

    China is one of five permanent members of the Security Council and can block any of its resolutions.

    Last week it threatened to block a resolution extending the mandate of the Sudan sanctions committee experts, a diplomat said. It finally abstained following talks with the United States.

    "China has serious concerns about the annual report submitted by the panel of experts on the Sudan sanctions committee and believes that there is much room for improvement in the work of the panel," the Chinese representative told the Security Council. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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