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Russia, China deny arms supplies to Sudan in breach of UN ban

RIA Novosti

08/05/2007 13:58 MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) - The foreign ministries of Russia and China denied Tuesday a report by a human rights group that they supplied arms to the government-backed militia in Darfur in west Sudan in breach of a UN embargo.

Amnesty International accused Russia and China, two permanent UN Security Council members, of supplying weapons to the Arab Janjaweed militia, accused of attacks on the civilian population in the oil-rich African country.

"Russian weapons have not been supplied to Darfur," the ministry said, adding Russia's military and technological cooperation with other states had been completely in line with international law. "We have strictly observed a UN resolution banning arms supplies to Darfur."

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said the accusations were ungrounded and the country maintained "a responsible approach" to arms sales, dealing with sovereign states, rather than individuals or organizations. He said Beijing had not sold weapons to any country subject to a UN embargo.

The report, the group says is based on eyewitness testimony and "confidential sources," said Russia and China sold military hardware worth $21 million and $24 million respectively to the African state in 2005, having been aware that "numerous such arms" were being used "in direct attacks against civilians."

Amnesty, which has also accused Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Belarus of supplying arms, proposes compiling a list of all supplies banned for Sudan, stationing UN monitors in the country's sea ports and air terminals and suspending all material supplies.

In March 2007, the UN mission accused Sudan's government of orchestrating and taking part in "gross violations" in Darfur and called for urgent international action to protect civilians.

Khartoum has objected to an August 2006 UN resolution that called for a UN mission to replace the ill equipped and poorly funded 7,000 strong African Union peacekeeping force, currently deployed in the country.

The UN estimates interethnic violence and disease have left 450,000 dead since the latest conflict began in July 2003.

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