China, Russia reject calls for freeze on UN pullout from Sudan
AFP, UN :
China and Russia on Friday (Jun 14) rejected calls from European and African countries to freeze the planned shutdown of a peacekeeping mission to Sudan's Darfur region.
Britain, France, Germany and the African countries on the Security Council told the group that the decision on closing the joint UN-African Union mission should be put on hold while Sudan is engulfed in crisis.
The council is scheduled to vote on the mandate of the mission, known as UNAMID, on Jun 27. "The situation has evolved, the situation is not the same in the center, and we cannot proceed as if nothing has happened," said South Africa's Ambassador Jerry Matjila. Russia and China however said the drawdown must continue as planned with a view to end operations in 2020. "The Sudanese government has the capacity to maintain peace and security in Darfur on its own," said China's Deputy Ambassador Wu Haitao.
China, Sudan's major trading partner, has long supported Khartoum's view that the conflict in Darfur was winding down and that peacekeepers were no longer needed. After a series of phased drawdowns, about 7,200 troops and police remain in Darfur from the 16,000 deployed at the height of the conflict.