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China, UK vow to maintain dialogue on Darfur issue

2007-05-18

BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) -- China and the United Kindom (UK) on Friday vowed to maintain dialogue and consultation on the Darfur issue in the hope of finding a peaceful solution at an early date.

Dialogue and negotiation are the most effective means of handling Sudan's Darfur issue, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told his British counterpart Margaret Beckett during a meeting on Friday, saying all parties should promote both peacekeeping missions and the political process in order to implement the Annan proposal.

The Annan proposal, put forward by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is a three-phase support plan aimed at deploying a combination of African Union and UN peacekeeping force in the Darfur region.

Chinese government has worked actively on the issue by providing humanitarian assistance to the Darfur region, and has sent a number of special envoys to the region, Yang said.

China has also designated a special representative on African affairs and decided to dispatch a 275-member multifunctional engineering squad to help implement the second phase of the Annan proposal.

The British government would like to maintain dialogue with the Chinese side on the Darfur issue, Beckett said, echoing her remarks at a press conference on Thursday, in which she praised China's role on the Darfur issue and called for more efforts from the international community.

The British government is keen to develop good relations with China, Beckett said.

With the year 2007 marking the 35th anniversary of ambassadorial relations between China and the UK, the two foreign ministers agreed that both governments will use the opportunity to enhance strategic dialogue, deepen cooperation in key sectors, coordinate closely on international affairs and properly handle issues of common concern.

Beckett arrived in the Chinese capital Wednesday morning, kicking off her first visit to China after taking office in May 2006. The trip will also take her to south China's Guangdong Province.

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