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Sunday, November 25, 2007

JEM Refuses to Allow Chinese Peace Keepers in their Areas

KHARTOUM, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Rebels on Saturday demanded Beijing pull its peacekeepers out of Darfur, just hours after a unit of Chinese army engineers flew into the Sudanese region.

More than 130 Chinese engineers arrived in south Darfur's capital Nyala on Saturday to pave the way for a 26,000-strong United Nations/African Union force in the region, where four years of conflict have killed some 200,000 people.

But the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said it would not allow the engineers onto land held by its forces. It accused Beijing of stoking the crisis by supporting Khartoum.
"They are not welcome... They can never come into our area," JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim told Reuters.

"We oppose them coming because China is not interested in human rights. It is just interested in Sudan's resources. We are calling on them to quit Sudan, especially the petroleum areas."

China has advised Sudan to cooperate with U.N. efforts to resolve the crisis but remains its largest arms supplier, with sales increasing 25-fold between 2002 and 2005. Total trade rose 124 percent in the first half of this year compared to 2006.

JEM attacked a Chinese-controlled oil installation last month in the central Sudanese region of Kordofan, but Ibrahim declined to comment on whether it would target the engineers.

"I am not saying I will attack them. I will not say I will not attack them. What I am saying is that they are taking our oil for blood," he said.

"China has so far only offered $1 million for displaced Darfur people. Meanwhile they are sucking a million barrels of oil out of Sudan every day. We do not welcome them."

The rebels have said they would welcome peacekeepers from any country but China. But Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Friday insisted China and Pakistan were the only non-African countries he would accept.

The widely read Sudan Tribune Web site on Saturday said the Chinese units were also opposed by Darfur's displaced people.

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