China ups military aid to Sudan despite human rights issues

Friday, April 6, 2007

CAIRO China has agreed to increase military cooperation with Sudan even as questions continue to dog the Sudan regime's ties to a militia group accused of genocide in Darfour.

China has announced the agreement through its official media which said the accord came during the visit by a Sudanese military delegation to Beijing.

"Military relations between China and Sudan have been developing smoothly for a long time," Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gang Chuan said. "We are willing to further develop cooperation between the two militaries in every sphere."

Last month, the International Criminal Court identified a Sudanese minister as the liaison with Janjaweed, the regime-aligned Arab militia, investigators said.

Janjaweed has been accused by the United Nations of killing at least 100,000 people in Darfour.

Then-State Interior Minister Ahmed Haroun was named as the financier of and liaison with Janjaweed. Haroun currently serves as humanitarian minister and is close to Sudanese President Omar Bashir, Middle East Newsline reported.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo plans to prosecute Haroun for war crimes, he said.

The Xinhua news agency did not detail plans to increase military cooperation with Khartoum. China, which has developed Sudan's energy assets, has helped train and equip Khartoum's military, including the supply of F-7 combat aircraft.

On April 1, Sudanese Chief of Staff Gen. Haj Ahmed El Gaili arrived in China for an eight-day visit. El Gaili led a delegation of defense and military officials.

For his part, El Gaili said Khartoum intends to improve exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries. He did not elaborate.

Copyright 2007 East West Services, Inc.

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