Russia, China reject Amnesty claims of arms sales to Sudan
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Russian weapons “have not been supplied to Darfur” and China “has always maintained a responsible approach to arms sales, dealing with sovereign states, rather than individuals or organizations”. This is the response of Moscow and Beijing to Amnesty International, which yesterday accused the two governments of selling arms to Sudan, thus enabling it to press ahead with genocide in Darfur.
A communiqué of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry released yesterday evening said: “The national army always cooperates with other states in line with international law. We have strictly observed a 2005 UN resolution banning arms supplies to Sudan.”
Jiang Yu, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry, said much the same. He described the accusations as “unfounded” and recalled the “respect of the country for UN decisions. Beijing has not sold weapons to any country subject to a UN embargo.”
According to the report presented yesterday by Amnesty, however, Russian and Chinese arms have been sent to this African country and have ended up directly in the hands of Janjaweed militia, which are protected by the government of Omar Hassan el Beshir, “father-godfather” of Sudan. To read the complete report, please click here.
The ambassador of Sudan to the United Nations, Abdel Mahmood Abdel Haleem, described the charges as a “lie, an inference that is baseless and unfounded.” Amnesty presented several photographs with its report that showed local military forces unloading arms which, claimed the group, came from Russia and China, “both permanent members of the UN Security Council.”
The four-year massacre under way in Darfur has seen more than 200,000 deaths. The Janjaweed militia are accused of displacing and killing tens of thousands of residents of Darfur for ethnic motives.
In a bid to put a stop to this tragedy, the UN has proposed a multi-national peace plan which Beijing yesterday signalled adherence to. In fact, during the press conference in which he rejected the charges made by Amnesty, Spokesman Yu said “China will send military engineers for a planned UN peacekeeping force to seek to stop the genocide.”