south sudan – sudan – china: chinese staff freed
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hearing, but a ban on them travellingoutside Egypt remains.
Forty-three foreign and Egyptian non-prot workers are accused of receivingillegal funds from abroad, carrying outpolitical activities unrelated to theircivil society work and failing to obtainthe necessary operating licences. Thegroups, however, maintain they haverepeatedly tried to register in Egypt.
The tension has been building sinceMarch 2011, when Washingtonannounced plans to distribute $65m ingrants directly to pro-democracygroups in Egypt. Hundreds of localNGOs applied for the grants, angeringEgypts military rulers, who claimedthe direct funding bypassed proper gov-ernment channels.
A senior US ocial said that Washing-ton and Cairo were holding what hedescribed as intense discussions toresolve the crisis within days.
Analysts see the crackdown as part ofa broader campaign against civil societyinvolving intimidation tactics, mediavilication, and a probe into the bankaccounts of prominent activists. Acti-vists say the governments witch-hunthas altered the way ordinary Egyptiansview civil society. Many NGO workersclaim they no longer feel welcome inthe neighbourhoods where they servethe poor, and some have been forcedout by angry mobs accusing them ofbeing foreign agents. (Sources as refer-enced in text) US concern over unprecedentedraids Vol. 48 p. 19104
SOUTH SUDAN SUDAN CHINAChinese Staff Freed
Oil rows and workers caught in thecrossre force Beijing to developpolitical and military tools toaccompany its ever-growing eco-nomic muscle.
Sudan and South Sudan are dragging areluctant China into their smoulderingrelations at a time when both sides saythe situation is on the brink of openarmed conict. Beijings win-windiplomacy in Africa serves it well whenthere are two winners. However, thecase of Chinese workers held by thearmed Sudanese opposition and theconict between Juba and Khartoumover oil pose another test of Beijingscommitment to non-interference, saysAfrica-Asia Condential (February).
Problems over pipeline transit fees andthe use of export infrastructure hit anew level of crisis in mid-January. Asthe two Sudans relations deteriorated
(see p. 19154), China has urged calm,talks and solutions based on the princi-ple of mutual benet. Foreign MinistrySpokesman Liu Weimin said that oilwas the shared livelihood of bothSudan and South Sudan.
The willingness of Chinese enterprisesto operate in any African environmenthas helped them to win contracts tobuild infrastructure but it has also putthem in harms way. 2011s instabilityin Libya highlighted the political riskwhen Beijing evacuated thousands ofits nationals who were working on bigconstruction projects. This has not yetaltered the corporate culture of Chinasstate-owned enterprises.
Beijing has not explained what work-ers from the state-owned Power Con-struction Corporation of China weredoing building roads in South Kordo-fan in the middle of an armed conictthat has displaced more than 400,000civilians. The PCCC was working ona $63m road project nanced by Chi-nas Export-Import Bank. The opposi-tion Sudan Revolutionary Front(SRF) said it will be used to supportthe National Congresss genocidal mil-itary eort. The United States-basedSatellite Sentinel Project said the roadwas for military purposes, while localssaid it was to facilitate gold miningby a French outt. Negotiations overthe captured workers mean that Beij-ing now has relations with a move-ment whose goal is to overthrowKhartoums National Congress Party(NCP). The SRF told Chinese diplo-mats that all Chinese companiesshould evacuate Blue Nile and SouthKordofan until the conict wasresolved.
The SPLM-N ghters from the SRFcaptured 29workers at ElAbbasiya, nearTalodi, whilesome 18 ed andone died in thecrossre with theSudan ArmedForces. Khar-toum describedthe workers ashostages but theSPLM A-N saidthat they were ina war zone andneeded to beevacuated. Whilenegotiating theworkers release,SPLM A-NChairman MalikAgar Eyre askedXie Xiaoyan, theAmbassador toEthiopia, if
China would intervene to help to createaid corridors for civilians threatened bystarvation and to pressure the NCP.Careful not to phrase his request as ademand, SPLM-N Secretary GeneralYasir Saeed Arman called on January31st for China to support the demand.Beijings Foreign Ministry sent a teamled by Qiu Xuejun, Deputy Director ofConsular Aairs, to Khartoum andNairobi on January 30th. The followingday, the ministry summoned SudansCharge dAaires, Omer Eissa Ahmed,to express its concern at Khartoumshandling of the crisis. Beijing laterpraised Khartoums eorts to persuadethe SPLM-Ns rebels to release theworkers. Government Spokesman Ra-bie Abdel Aati said troops in SouthKordofan worked with Chinese militaryadvisors on rescue plans.
In China, a debate raged on internet for-ums and social networks about overseassecurity. On February 9th, Yan Zhiyong,Party Secretary of PCC, and DeputyForeign Minister Zhang Ming welcomedthe 29 freed workers home. (Africa-AsiaCondential, February)
MAGHREB USBe Patient, but NotComplacent, Says Top Diplomat
The United States is closely watch-ing the new government in Tunis,but cautions that building a bettersociety takes time.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clintonon February 25th urged Tunisia, Alge-ria and Morocco to maintain themomentum of the Arab Spring throughdeepened democratic reforms, AFPreported.
CameroonGulf of Guinea
Overseas Relations19178 Africa Research Bulletin
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Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2012.