» 08/02/2007 12:15 CHINA - UNITED NATIONS Beijing applauds the UN decision to send 26 thousand soldiers to Darfur Sudan defines the initiative as “practical”. Their role is limited to safeguarding the population; they will be able to use force. China’s pressure on Khartoum decisive. Spielberg joins the lobby to boycott the Beijing Olympics if the massacre is not halted.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Beijing has applauded the UN Security Council decision to send a new peace force of 26 thousand troops to Sudan to stop the Darfur massacre. Yesterday, just hours after the decision, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi commented “This is the result of concerted effort and should be fully recognised and encouraged”.
On the night of July 31st the Security Council also voted on the use of force in protecting Darfur civilians. Sudan said it considered the decision to be “practical” following changes brought in shortly before the vote; among them the power of peace forces to requisition arms was withdrawn. EU foreign policy Chief Javier Solana, who was also in Manila, said China's influence over Sudan was clear.
China is Sudan's biggest arms supplier and oil customer. It had previously urged the international community not to pressure Khartoum about Darfur. It had been accused of safeguarding its own economic interests with Khartoum. This is why so many human rights groups have proposed to boycott the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, if China failed to use its influence on Sudan to resolve the massacre in Darfur, where in four years of fighting it is estimated that over 200 thousand people have died and 2 million be made featured.
The proposal gained consensus among important world figures, such as US actors Mia Farrow, George Clooney, Brad Pitt. On July 27 film maker Steven Spielberg, who is also artistic director for the Olympics had threatened to leave his post if China did not take on a more decisive position towards Sudan, to make them accept the UN peace keepers and to “stop the genocide”.