10/21/2010, 00.00
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Chinese bullets against peacekeepers in Darfur

According to the annual report on sanctions against Sudan, submitted to the UN Security Council, various types of ammunition used in attacks against the peacekeeping force are made in China. Beijing blocks accusations, trying to conceal the report.

Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese bullets fired at the United Nations peacekeeping force engaged in the war-torn region of Darfur in Sudan. The report was examined yesterday by the Commission of Experts of the UN Security Council, which, despite strong opposition from China, decided to send it for examination to the Security Council.

The report says that more than a dozen types of ammunition used in attacks against the peacekeeping force are made in China, four other types are made in Sudan and 2 are Israeli.

"There is no evidence that the bullets come directly from China - a diplomatic source told Reuters on October 19 - with the government's knowledge to Khartoum for use in Darfur, or that it was China that sold the ammunition to Sudan. But the attempt by Beijing to suppress the report raises suspicions. "

In recent days the Chinese delegation had made it clear it did not want the report to be examined by the Commission, and diplomatic sources say that Beijing had even threatened to veto the renewal of the mandate of the Commission, if the report was not changed. The mandate was renewed last week. Yesterday, during the meeting of the Expert Committee, China renewed its opposition, labelling the report incomplete, because it does not state the sources of information. The Commission has decided to send the report to the Council (who will review it next week), enclosing a letter with better information on sources.

The Chinese delegate Yang Tao had already expressed "serious concern about the annual report submitted by the Commission of Experts to the Committee on sanctions against Sudan, and believes there is room for improvement in the work of the Commission", without giving further explanations.

It is not forbidden to sell arms to Sudan, but States are invited to ensure that weapons are not used in the ongoing genocide in Darfur. China and Russia have often been accused of selling weapons that end up being used in Darfur. The United States and other Western delegates have repeatedly suggested a total embargo on arms sales, a proposal that has always been opposed by China. The report also speaks of Russian helicopters and Belarusian fighter aircraft employed by the government of Sudan in Darfur. Khartoum said they were not used in warfare, so the embargo has not been violated.

The UN has estimated that the conflict in Darfur, which began in 2003, has led to over 300 thousand deaths, mostly civilians, and 2.7 million refugees. Khartoum speaks of "only" 10 thousand deaths.

China has been repeatedly criticized for the support it provides to the Sudanese government with diplomatic support and trade, in exchange for access to energy sources and raw materials, regardless of the genocide and UN sanctions. In 2008, the U.S. director Steven Spielberg resigned as artistic director for the Beijing Olympics protesting the Chinese position.

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See also
China asks UN to suspend arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir
Satellite photos, eyewitnesses reveal Beijing selling weapons to Sudan, despite embargo
Beijing gets directly involved in negotiations for the release of kidnapped Chinese workers
Three billion dollars a year from China for the genocide in Darfur
EU: China must stop selling weapons to countries under UN embargo


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