Home | News    Tuesday 31 July 2007

China supports Chapter VII mandate for Darfur force

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By: Wasil Ali

July 30, 2007 (NEW YORK) — China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Wang Guangya said his government supports the inclusion of Chapter VII mandate in the draft resolution on Darfur peacekeeping force.

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Chinese envoy to the UN

“Some elements of the mandate I think probably there is a need for it to be under Chapter VII” Wang told reporters at UN headquarters today.

This is the first time a Chinese official explicitly expresses support for the tough mandate as outlined in the draft resolution.

Last week a western official familiar with negotiations told Reuters that China had objected to having Chapter VII in the resolution.

It is not clear what prompted the change in Beijing’s position. China has been under harsh criticism for its unwillingness to pressure Khartoum.

Last week film-maker Steven Spielberg said he may quit as artistic director of the Beijing Olympics unless China takes a tougher stance against Sudan.

Wang said that given the “unique” nature of the operation conducted jointly between the UN and AU some Security Council members want to have a “clear mandate for the mission”.

Sudan has said it will not accept a Chapter VII mandate for the peacekeeping force saying it is a violation of its sovereignty

However Wang’s statement may signal that Sudan will have little support among UN Security Council members in its efforts to remove the clause that refers to application of Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

China buys two-third of Sudan’s oil exports and is supporting numerous infrastructure projects in the country, including a pipeline, a super tanker terminal and a hydropower dam.

The African bloc at the UNSC (Ghana, Congo and South Africa) supports the inclusion of Chapter Seven in order to protect their troops should they decide to send forces to Darfur.

Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad who described the original draft of the resolution last week as “ugly” and “awful” appeared resigned to the fact that Chapter VII will not be removed from the text.

Abdalmahmood declined to comment on the latest text saying "The consultations are at a sensitive stage".

A third version of the draft resolution that was distributed today preserved the Chapter Seven mandate allowing the use of force to ensure the security and movement of the mission’s personnel and humanitarian workers and "to protect civilians under threat of physical violence."

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter sets out the UN Security Council’s powers to maintain peace.

It allows the Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and to take military and nonmilitary action to "restore international peace and security".

(ST)

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