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Chinese Envoy Urges Sudanese Rebels to Return to Peace Talks


China's envoy to Sudan, Lui Guijin, is urging rebel groups in the Darfur region to return to peace talks with the Sudanese government.

Lui said on arriving in Sudan Sunday that what he calls the rebels' reluctance to talk is holding up a political settlement.

China is the largest buyer of Sudanese oil exports and is also a major arms supplier to Sudan. Human rights activists have accused China of not using its influence with the Sudanese government to stop the killing in Darfur.

The United Nations estimates that fighting between Sudan's Islamic government and non-Arab rebels in Darfur has killed about 200,000 people in Darfur since 2003. Many of the victims were civilians.

Lui said China is pursuing peace in Darfur and wants Sudan to achieve stability and development as soon as possible.

Famed Hollywood film director Steven Spielberg recently quit as artistic advisor to the upcoming Summer Olympics in Beijing because of China's policy in Sudan.

U.N. peacekeepers reported new airstrikes in western Darfur Sunday, in the Jabel Moun area. A U.N. statement says officials are gravely concerned for the safety of thousands of civilians in the region.

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

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