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Dharmshala: Diplomats claim that China is attempting to block the publication of a United Nations report which links Chinese weapons with attacks on UN and African Union peacekeepers in Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

Darfur has been the subject of an international arms embargo for 6 years, although the sale of weapons to the Sudanese central government in Khartoum remains legal. The report does not claim that Chinese arms dealers knew that the weapons were intended for use in Darfur, but at least a dozen types of Chinese ammunition have been used by Khartoum against rebels in Darfur.

That Chinese casings have also been found at sites where attacks on UN troops took place appears to be causing great concern to the Security Council.

Conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, sparked by the oppressive rule of the Khartoum government and a widespread feeling that the administration favoured Arabs over black Africans. The UN estimates that, since then, the fighting has forced some 2.7 million civilians from their homes, and has claimed the lives of up to 300,000.

The present report is being discussed by a UN Committee charged with regulating sanctions against Sudan, and after a meeting on Wednesday, Chinese diplomat Zhao Baogang expressed Beijing's objections: the document "lacks confirmed facts" and "is full of flaws".
Yang Tao, a member of China's Permanent Mission to the UN, told the Security Council that the report left "much room for improvement" and urged the panel of experts "to conduct its work under the principles of objectivity and responsibility".

China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, can exercise considerable influence in modifying or blocking the report.

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