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China to Send Hundreds of Engineers to Darfur

China has confirmed it will send engineers to Sudan's troubled Darfur region as part of a planned U.N. deployment of peacekeepers.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman told reporters Tuesday, that China is willing to work with the rest of the international community for peace and stability in Darfur.

She did not say how many engineers would be sent or when they would be deployed. On Monday, a U.S. State Department official said the number would be in the hundreds.

The State Department called China's decision a positive development. But a spokesman urged Beijing to use its influence with Sudan to make it accept the full deployment of a U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in the region.

Sudan has resisted international pressure to accept the proposed force of 20,000 police, troops, and personnel.

A current force of 7,000 African peacekeepers has not been able to contain violence in Darfur.

Darfur rebels began an uprising against Sudan's central government in early 2003. Since then fighting involving rebel groups, the government, and so-called Janjaweed militia has killed some 200,000 people, and displaced more than two million others.

Sudan's government is accused of supporting the Janjaweed, who are accused of some of the worst atrocities in the conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.