China, under international pressure to help end the conflict in Darfur, has called on its Sudanese ally to do more to allow foreign peacekeeping troops to deploy to the region.
But there was no respite in the fighting and the United Nations said it feared for thousands of civilians after reports that Sudan's forces bombed a rebel-held area in western Darfur.
China's envoy to Darfur, in a departure from Beijing's usual public diplomatic vagueness, made an unusual rebuke to Khartoum during a visit there yesterday and urged Sudan to remove obstacles to full deployment of a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force.
"Rolling out the hybrid peacekeeping operation and resolving the Darfur issue require the joint efforts of all sides," Liu Guijin told China's official Xinhua news agency.
"First, the Sudan government should co-operate better with the international community and demonstrate greater flexibility on some technical issues. Next, anti-government organisations in the Darfur region should return to the negotiating table."
China is a big investor in Sudan's oil industry and is the country's largest weapons supplier. ReutersReuse content