Darfur: it’s time to break the China connection

A TRUE measure of the Irish Government’s commitment to conflict resolution in our aid programme is their effort in Darfur, as pointed out in your editorial headlined ‘Government must act on Darfur crisis’ (Irish Examiner, September 19).

A decision to cease trade with China, one of Sudan’s strongest allies, would not only show solidarity with Darfur’s vulnerable people, but would also leave the Chinese in no doubt about this country’s abhorrence of their attitude.

China has lucrative oil ties with Sudan and, along with Russia, refused to vote for the recent UN resolution to send in peacekeepers.

China is the largest customer for Sudan’s rapidly growing oil exports — which account for more than half of the country’s revenues — as well as being a major investor in the petroleum industry there. China’s thirst for Sudan’s oil is implicating the country in genocide.

Khartoum has rejected a UN plan to send peacekeeping troops to Darfur to replace the largely ineffective African Union force whose mandate expires at the end of this month. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush have been trying to persuade China to use its influence to change Sudanese President Omar Bahir’s mind and allow in the UN peacekeepers.

The Irish Government’s rhetorical backing for anti-genocide protests staged around the world last Sunday falls short of what is required in this violent region.

Our Government must extend any political leverage they have by immediately ending trading links with the permanent UN security council member.

John O’Shea

GOAL

PO Box 19

Dun Laoghaire

Co Dublin

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