China opposes UN report on Darfur bullets: diplomats
It is seeking to block report that says Chinese bullets were used in attacks on UN peacekeepers. -AFP
UNITED NATIONS - China is seeking to block a UN report that says Chinese bullets were used in attacks on UN peacekeepers in Darfur, diplomats said Wednesday.
The report was discussed at a UN committee that monitors sanctions against Sudan, including an arms embargo against the Darfur region which has been at war since 2003.
Beijing had threatened to block the report unless the wording is changed, one diplomat said. China spoke out against the panel of experts that monitor the sanctions at the UN Security Council last week.
After the meeting, a Chinese representative who identified himself by the name Zhao said the report in Beijing's opinion "is full of flaws with too many unconfirmed facts."
"Where did they get the informed sources? No evidence is given," Zhao said, adding that the report "lacks confirmed facts -- how can we agree on those recommendations? We ask them to improve the work of the methodology."
The committee chairman, Austrian ambassador to the UN Thomas Mayr-Harting, confirmed the report had been discussed in the meeting.
Under the 2005 embargo, arms sales to Sudan are legal but the Khartoum government must give guarantees that the supplies will not end up in Darfur, where the UN estimates that at least 300,000 people have been killed in a rebel uprising against the government.
According to diplomats, the report says that bullet casings found at the scene of attacks on UN troops in Darfur were made in China, Sudan and Israel.
"It is not a secret that China supplies arms to Africa," said another diplomat.
But there is no proof that the bullets were supplied directly to Sudan and they could have been bought elsewhere on the African arms market.
China is one of five permanent members of the Security Council and can block any of its resolutions.
Last week it threatened to block a resolution extending the mandate of the Sudan sanctions committee experts, a diplomat said. It finally abstained following talks with the United States.
"China has serious concerns about the annual report submitted by the panel of experts on the Sudan sanctions committee and believes that there is much room for improvement in the work of the panel," the Chinese representative told the Security Council, to justify the abstention.
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