Sudan: China stresses "positive, constructive" efforts on Darfur issue

BEIJING, Jun 19, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- China said on Tuesday it is committed to an early solution of the Darfur issue and has contributed "very positive and constructive" efforts to ease the situation in the region.

China has been in contact with Sudan via high-level visits, special envoys, telephone and letters, advising Sudan to cooperate with the UN and the African Union (AU) and take active steps to ease the situation in the Darfur region, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

"Like the rest of the international community, China is concerned about the Darfur issue and hopes the parties concerned will find a proper solution through consultation," Qin told a regular press conference.

Qin said China has offered humanitarian aid to Darfur and will send a 275-member engineering unit to Darfur.

China's newly-appointed special representative for Darfur Liu Guijin, who made a fact-finding trip to Darfur last month, is now on a trip to Africa after the Sudanese government last Tuesday accepted the deployment of a hybrid AU-UN force of between 17,000 to 19,000 troops in Darfur.

The deployment of the hybrid force is the final part of a three-phase support plan, also known as the Annan plan because it was drawn up by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, with aims to end armed conflicts in Darfur.

The Sudanese government has been accused by the United States of delaying the deployment of the hybrid force. But Khartoum strongly requested that the joint force be predominantly African.

"A genuine solution to the Darfur issue must be based on full respect for the Sudanese government," said Qin.