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China speaks out on Darfur

Gretchen Wilson Feb 20, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: President Bush continued his five-nation tour of Africa today. He received a ceremonial welcome in Ghana as renewed fighting continued in Darfur. While the president announced new funds to help end that conflict, China spoke up about the situation. Gretchen Wilson reports.


Gretchen Wilson: President Bush is pledging $100 million to train and equip African peacekeepers who will serve in Darfur. He’s highlighting U.S. sanctions on Sudan’s leaders and companies. And he said “human suffering ought to preempt commercial interests.”

That’s a thinly-veiled reference to China. China buys most of Sudan’s oil exports. It faces growing pressure to help broker a peace deal between rebel groups and the Sudanese government.

China’s involvement in Sudan has been under the spotlight in advance of the Beijing Olympics. Today, the Beijing Olympic Games defended China’s stance on Darfur and appealed to activists not to pressure sponsors to pull out.

In fact, China’s now urging the West to do more. According to today’s state-run China Daily, officials want Western countries to use their sway with rebel groups to promote a settlement.

In Johannesburg, I’m Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.

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