Sudan resumes Darfur air-strikes; China denies fueling war

The Sudanese military renewed its aerial bombing campaign in West Darfur region Feb. 25, with the joint UN-AU mission in Sudan, UNAMID, saying it had received reports of air-strikes in the Jebel Moun region. UNAMID said there is grave concern for the safety of thousands of civilians in the area. The report came as China’s new special envoy for Darfur, Liu Guijin, began a five-day visit to Sudan to pledge humanitarian aid and push for peace. Liu said he will travel to Darfur this week, the fifth anniversary of the start of the conflict which has left 200,000 people dead and 2.5 million homeless. Critics dismissed the move as part of a public relations offensive ahead of the Beijing Olympics. (Ghana Broadcasting Corp., San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 25; Xinhua, Feb. 26)

Responding to charges that China is arming the Khartoum regime, Liu told the BBC that only 8% of weapons imported by Sudan came from China in 2006 and insisted it was not fueling the conflict. “There are seven countries selling arms to Sudan. So even if China stopped its sale, it still won’t solve the problem of arms in Sudan,” he said. (BBC, Feb. 24)

See our last posts on Darfur and China.