Thursday, October 21, 2010

China 'trying to block publication of UN Darfur report'

The report says bullet casings from China were found at the site of attacks against peacekeepers
China is trying to prevent a report which says Chinese bullets have been used against peacekeepers in Darfur from being published, diplomats say. The report is being discussed by a United Nations committee which monitors sanctions against Sudan, including an arms embargo on Darfur. Beijing says it is vaguely worded and full of flaws. Ceasefires and peace negotiations have failed to end the conflict in the volatile western Sudanese region. The report says that a dozen different brands of Chinese bullet casings have been found in Darfur, some at sites where attacks on UN troops took place. The BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN in New York says the allegations are controversial, but adds that China has the right to sell munitions to Khartoum as long as they are not used in Darfur. The report, prepared by a panel of experts, was intended to be published after being formally presented to the UN Security Council. 

The panel has previously claimed that large amounts of foreign arms and ammunition are being trafficked into Darfur and fuelling the conflict between the government and rebel groups. After a meeting of the UN committee on Wednesday, Chinese diplomat Zhao Baogang said his government strongly objected to the report. "Where did they get the informed sources? No evidence is given," he said, adding that the report "lacks confirmed facts". He added: "How can we agree on those recommendations? We ask them to improve the work of the methodology." The UN says that about 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and more than 2.6 million displaced since rebels took up arms there in 2003.


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