Diplomats: UN panel provides new info on China

18 shell castings reportedly back allegation that Chinese ammunition was sent to Darfur in violation of UN arms embargo.

Darfur gunmen 224 ap (photo credit: AP [)
Darfur gunmen 224 ap
(photo credit: AP [)
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A UN panel has provided additional details requested by China to back its allegations that Chinese ammunition was sent to Darfur in violation of a UN arms embargo, diplomats said Wednesday.
The panel reported 18 shell casings were found after attacks against the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur — 12 with markings from China, two varieties from Israel and four manufactured in Sudan, according to Diplomats familiar with the report and the new material.
China is allowed to sell arms and ammunition to the Sudanese government but states are required to provide "end user" certificates guaranteeing the material will not be transferred to conflict-wracked Darfur, which is subject to a UN arms embargo.
The panel said it has no proof that China knew the ammunition was being sent to Darfur but said Beijing had not done enough to ensure that it would not be transferred, according to the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the report has not been made public.
China has expressed serious concern with the panel, calling its members unprofessional, challenging its methodology and asking for additional details on the allegations, diplomats said.
The diplomats said members of the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Sudan were examining the additional information.
According to the panel's report, Russian-made Sukhoi Su-25 jets — which the Sudanese government bought from Belarus with a guarantee that they would not be used in Darfur — are also being used in Darfur, in apparent violation of the arms embargo.
Austria's UN Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, the sanctions committee's chairman, is expected to send a letter later this week to the committee, which includes all 15 Security Council members, informing them that he plans to transmit the panel's report to the Security Council, the diplomats said. The resolution authorizing the panel calls for its report to be sent to the council.
Mayr-Harting will then wait to see if there are any objections, the diplomats said.
Fighting in Darfur that began with a 2003 rebellion by groups who accused the government of neglecting the vast desert region has left up to 300,000 people dead and forced 2.7 million to flee their homes, according to UN figures.
The UN panel of experts reported last November that the Sudanese government and rebel groups in Darfur were refusing to abandon the military option and increasingly violating the arms embargo.
Human Rights First's Julia Fromholz said Wednesday the panel's findings should remind governments "of the need to counter the consistent efforts to undermine the UN sanctions" and enforce the arms embargo.