Source AP ©

China urges Sudanese rebels to join in peace talks

China responded to rebel’s threats against peacemakers in Darfur. The officials said that Beijing is to regulate the tense situation in Sudanese region and forced the opposition to join peace negotiations.

"The Chinese side finds it hard to comprehend and cannot accept the accusations against China's participation in the Darfur peacekeeping action; all the more do we oppose the open threats against the safety of China's peacekeeping personnel," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement posted on the ministry's Web site.

Rebels in the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement have warned they could target Chinese troops because Beijing supplies military and economic support to Sudan 's government.

The movement, which has boycotted peace talks, claims the Chinese were sent to protect Beijing's investments in Sunday's oil industry. Last month, its fighters attacked the Chinese-run Defra oil field in neighboring Kordofan region and abducted two foreign workers.

China over the weekend began deploying a 315-member engineering, well-digging, and medical contingent to Darfur to prepare for the arrival of the proposed 26,000-strong hybrid African Union-U.N. peacekeeping force likely early next year.

The joint force is to take over from a beleaguered 7,000-member African Union mission, although Sudan has yet to approve a list of contributing countries, and participating nations have so far failed to contribute helicopters and other vital equipment.

Avoiding mention of Beijing's ties with Khartoum , Qin said China was working hard to reconcile the sides.

" China 's participation in the Darfur peacekeeping action reflects the Chinese side's constructive role in bringing an appropriate resolution to the Darfur issue," Qin said.

"The Chinese side hopes anti-government armed forces that have not signed the Darfur peace agreement will sooner or later join in the peace process," Qin said.

Darfur rebels, along with many international rights activists, accuse China of indirectly funding Khartoum's war effort in Darfur by massively investing in Sudanese oil.

China buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil exports and observers say Sudan's military receives up to 70 percent of oil royalties.

More than 200,000 people have died since 2003, when ethnic African rebels in Darfur took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government blaming decades of discrimination and neglect.

Sudan's government is accused of retaliating by unleashing a militia of Arab nomads known as the janjaweed - a charge it denies.

The government signed a peace agreement with one rebel group in May 2006, but other rebel groups refused - and many of those groups have since splintered, complicating prospects for a political settlement.

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