Amidst a flurry of diplomatic moves timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the failed Darfur peace agreement, Khartoum sent a letter to the U.N. secretary general accepting the “heavy support package” of an additional 3,000 troops to patrol its lawless western province. In effect, Sudan would be accepting the second phase of the U.N. Security Council’s plan to replace the current African Union peacekeepers with a U.N.-led force.
While Washington and London are gearing up for stronger punitive actions against Sudan if Khartoum does not accept a larger U.N. force, or what the Bush administration has dubbed “Plan B,” China has held several meetings with Sudanese officials, pushing for closer relations and a more “flexible” approach to Darfur. The Sino-Sudanese dialogue is exemplary of China’s new approach to African issues that PINR described in February in which China has loosened its “non-interference” policy in certain circumstances. (full long text).