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China opposes Kony arrest

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th August 2009 03:00 AM

The indictment of Sudan President Omar el-Bashir and LRA chief Joseph Kony is a stumbling block to peace in Africa, according to China.

The indictment of Sudan President Omar el-Bashir and LRA chief Joseph Kony is a stumbling block to peace in Africa, according to China.

By Steven Candia and Lydia Namubiru

The indictment of Sudan President Omar el-Bashir and LRA chief Joseph Kony is a stumbling block to peace in Africa, according to China.

Addressing journalists at the Chinese embassy in Kampala, Ambassador Liu Guijin, who also in charge of African affairs, said the warrants of arrest had only complicated matters.

Liu Guijin, who is also China’s special representative on Darfur, is scheduled to meet Vice-President Dr. Gilbert Bukenya and foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa today.

China, he said, fully supports the stand taken by the AU on both the Bashir indictments and the Darfur crisis, which call for a political resolution to the problems.

Both Bashir and Kony are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Liu Guijin said the indictments had become counter-productive to the attainment of peace in the Sudan, the volatile Darfur region inclusive.

“But the involvement of the ICC indictments at a moment when there is need for a greater push for more political solutions is not solving the purpose,” Liu Guijin said.

The indictments had presented Kony with a pretext not to sign the comprehensive peace agreement, which was worked out in Juba last year. “Kony wanted the indictments lifted before he could sign but because ICC indictments were not cancelled, Kony also used it as a pretext not to sign the peace agreement,” he said.

He said only a political option would resolve the conflicts.

“There is no way a military option can resolve the LRA and Darfur conflicts. A political option has to be given a chance,” he said.

Although China supports local initiatives to resolve conflicts, it believes in the policy of non-interference in the matters of sovereign states. Dismissing media allegations that China has been aloof as the Darfur atrocities raged on, Liu Guijin said China had played a central role in attaining the present situation in the volatile region.

He instead urged Western states to pressure leaders of rebel groups in Darfur to talk.

“What we need is a holistic approach to ensure no outbreak of war in Southern Sudan again,” he said.

He defended his country’s increasing presence in Africa, saying the relationship was based on equality, transparency and mutual respect.

He dismissed allegations, especially by the western media that China’s interests in Africa are driven by the desire to secure oil.

But he added that there was nothing wrong for any country to purchase oil from Africa.

China opposes Kony arrest

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