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Saturday, August 18, 2007

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - China is still giving Sudan financial and military aid that enables it to wage war in Darfur, but global pressure on Beijing has made a difference, a Small Arms Survey research paper said.

The Small Arms Survey said China's financial support to Sudan indirectly helped finance its wars, lifting Khartoum's income to at least $1.3 billion a year from oil revenues.

Chinese companies have controlling interests in Sudan's largest oil blocks and 50 percent of its largest refinery. But Chinese investment was larger than just oil, the report said.

"China is now northern Sudan's most important trade partner," the report said, adding investment was in construction, dams and railways as well as the energy sector.
On arms, the report said Chinese-Sudanese military relations strengthened from 2002 with high-level exchange visits.

While little information is available, it cited U.N. figures showing China as the largest military weapons and parts supplier to Sudan in 2004 and 2005, overtaking Iran. In 2005 it supplied almost $25 million worth.

The report said pressure from advocacy groups and negative media attention ahead of China hosting the 2008 Olympic Games had pushed Beijing to use its influence over Sudan more wisely.

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