Hu reassures Sudan over continuing investment
SUDAN won pledges from China and its state- owned energy firm yesterday that they will continue investing in the country after its resource-rich southern region becomes independent next month.
Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said yesterday President Omar al-Bashir was visiting Beijing hoping to hear China would continue to invest in northern Sudan’s oil, agriculture and mining sectors.
Violence has escalated in areas contested by the north and south, and China has said it wants the two sides to peacefully settle the dispute.
“We had good assurances from his excellency President Hu Jintao that China would go on working with Sudan hand in hand whether politically or financially or economically,” Karti told reporters two days into a trip that comes ahead of south Sudan’s independence on July 9.
Al-Bashir was greeted by the Chinese president at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday and given an honor-guard reception.
“The Chinese side will firmly pursue a friendly policy toward Sudan,” Hu was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency. “No matter the changes in the international situation and internal situation of Sudan, this policy will remain unchanged.”
During his talks with al-Bashir, Hu proposed expanding bilateral cooperation by deepening political links, boosting trade and economic cooperation, increasing exchanges and cooperating on international issues.
The leaders witnessed the signing of an economic and technological cooperation agreement, and a pact for a bridge project in the east of Sudan. Al-Bashir also visited the Beijing headquarters of China National Petroleum Corp, Asia’s biggest oil and gas producer by volume, and was assured the firm would continue to invest in the north, Karti said.
Sudan is sub- Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer, producing 490,000 barrels a day last year.
South Sudan’s declaration of independence will be the culmination of a 2005 peace deal that ended more than 20 years of civil war that killed more than 2 million people.
The violence resulted in war crimes charges against al-Bashir, the first against a sitting head of state until similar charges this week against Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.
China has said charges accusing al-Bashir of orchestrating atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur could cause further instability in the region.