Tuesday, October 26, 2010

China Wants United Nations to Block Report on Chinese Ammunition in Darfur

An unpublished United Nations report saying Chinese bullets were used in attacks on peacekeeping troops in the Darfur region of Sudan is an “attack” on China and shouldn’t be made public, a Chinese diplomat said.

Yang Tao said the allegation that Chinese ammunition was used by Darfur militias, suggesting a possible violation of the UN arms embargo on the region, was no more than a “guess” and that only “proven scientific, independent, objective views” should be included in such reports.

“It is an attack on China,” Yang said in an interview.

He said more discussion of the report was needed in the UN Security Council committee that monitors the 2005 arms embargo. China’s opposition would block release of the report, which was reviewed at a committee meeting yesterday in New York.

Unanimous consent of the council’s 15 members is required before the committee can release the report, written by a panel of experts on the conflict in Darfur.

“One delegation made it very clear it has problems with the substance of the report,” the committee’s chairman, Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria, told reporters after the meeting.

Violence in Darfur exploded in 2003 when rebels took up arms, accusing the authorities in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, of neglecting the region. The conflict has led to the deaths of as many as 300,000 people, mainly due to illness and starvation, and forced about 2.7 million people from their homes, according to UN estimates.

The Sudanese government has put the death toll at about 10,000 people.

Chinese Opposition

Since 2003 China has delayed or blocked a number of proposed steps to end the conflict. It initially opposed a joint UN and African Union peacekeeping mission and the first sanctions on Sudanese military and militia leaders accused of committing crimes against humanity. China abstained when the sanctions were adopted in April 2006.

China is the biggest importer of oil pumped in Sudan, where the output of 490,000 barrels per day ranks the country as sub- Saharan Africa’s third-largest producer.

Countries may legally supply Sudan with arms on the condition they aren’t used in Darfur. The report doesn’t say that China’s government knowingly sold ammunition to Sudan for use in Darfur, or that the bullets came directly from China, Agence France-Presse reported, citing unnamed diplomats.

Bullet casings found at the scene of attacks on UN troops in Darfur also were made in Sudan and Israel, according to the diplomats who spoke to AFP.