Chinese Peace envoy in Sudan

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Head of Chinese envoy, Mr. Liu Guijin, arrived Sunday, in Sudan to find a lasting solution to the conflict that has led to the death of about 200,000 people and made over 2.5 million homeless.

Shortly after US film director, Steven Speilberg’s announcement of his decision to end his role as artistic director for the Beijing olympics, when he said his “conscience” would not allow him to continue collaborating with a country that could but was not doing enough to stop the humanitarian crises in Sudan, the Chinese government announced Mr. Liu’s visit.

Liu Guijin who was appointed last year last year by Beijing as head of its envoy to Darfur, is an experienced diplomat who knows Africa well. He has served as ambassador to both Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Finding a lasting solution to the conflict is Mr. Liu’s top priority. “China’s devotion to solving the Darfur issue is for the sake of peace, rather than for expediency,” China is seeking to play a positive role in the conflict area. “what china is pursuing is to realise peace in Darfur as soon as possible, and to help Sudan achieve stability and development as soon as possible”. The Chinese government has promised to provide US$11 million in humanitarian aid.

Also part of his agenda is to discuss co-operation with the deployment of African Union forces to promote peace keeping. China has also sent peace keeping forces to the war torn region.

On the subject of arms, human rights organisation, Amnesty International, had claimed earlier on that China was selling weapons to Sudan in violation of a UN arms embargo. However, Mr. Liu, told the bbc in an interview that only 8 per cent of weapons imported by Sudan came from China in the year 2006. He also suggested that seven countries had been identified in the sale of arms to Sudan and that stopping China’s insignificant arms sales to Sudan would not stop the problem of arms in Sudan.

China imports two-thirds of Sudanese oil – estimated at 500,000 barrels a day. Its imports from Sudan totalled US4.1 billion last year. To continue this lucrative collaboration with Sudan, a country torn by war, China used its veto power to block an eventual imposition of sanctions if the fighting was not stopped.

Mr. Liu Guijin is scheduled to travel to Darfur on Tuesday. This move is believed to show a more responsible and positive Chinese role.

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