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US Says China to Send Hundreds of Engineers to Darfur

U.S. officials say China is willing to send hundreds of engineers to Sudan's troubled Darfur region as part of a planned United Nations-backed deployment of peacekeepers.

State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos on Monday welcomed China's decision, calling it a positive development.

But he also called on Beijing to use its significant influence with Khartoum to agree to the full deployment of a hybrid U.N.-African Union force of more than 20-thousand troops as soon as possible.

Sudan has resisted international pressure to allow the peacekeepers, who would strengthen an existing African Union force in Darfur.

Fighting between rebels and pro-government forces in Darfur has killed some 200,000 people since 2003. More than two million others have been displaced.

Sudan's government is accused of arming militias known as Janjaweed that are blamed for most of the conflict.

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