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China Opposes ICC Warrant for Sudan's President

China is opposing the International Criminal Court's issuance of an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president and says the move will not help stabilize the situation in the war-torn African nation.

China has expressed regret that the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters, Thursday, China does not believe the indictment will contribute to peace and stability in the Darfur region.

Spokesman Qin says he hopes the United Nations will listen to the appeals of the African Union, Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement and will call on the ICC not to hear the case, for the time being.

The ICC charged the Sudanese leader with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Wednesday. The charges include murder, rape and torture. It is the Hague-based court's first action against a sitting head of state.

China buys two-thirds of Sudan's petroleum exports and has been criticized for not using its economic influence to pressure Mr. Bashir to end the violence in Darfur. China is also believed to be a provider of small arms to Sudan, many of which are used in Darfur.

Spokesman Qin says China has made efforts to promote stability in the region and has 315 peacekeepers in Darfur.

Qin says China believes the current strategy of negotiations, combined with the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force, is already making sufficient progress towards peace in Darfur.

In recent years, fighting between rebel groups and government-backed militias has killed at least 300,000 people in Darfur.