Sunday, June 05, 2005

Japanese aid group inks oil deal with Sudan - China opposes UN Security Council enlargement with Japan

This sounds interesting. A Japanese company called SIG, established in April by a Japanese NGO, Reliance, which has provided humanitarian support in Sudan since the 1990s said it plans develop oil fields in eastern Sudan and use the profit from oil development to finance humanitarian support in Africa.

Excerpt from an AP report June 5, 2005:

A company established by a Japanese nongovernment organization providing humanitarian support in Sudan has obtained concession rights for oil and natural gas in the African nation, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.

Systems International Group, a Tokyo-based medical equipment company, and the Sudan government will formally sign the agreement next Sunday, the Mainichi newspaper reported.

The company, known as SIG, will develop oil fields in eastern Sudan bordering Eritrea and Ethiopia, the region believed to have large oil reserves, the Mainichi said.

The contract is believed to be about $100 million for approximately 25 years, the newspaper said. The company will invest about $8 million by August to set up a joint venture with Sudan.

After a geological survey of about one year, the joint company plans to have a contract with a Japanese trading company to develop oil in Sudan. SIG has already set aside Y500 million, the Mainichi said, quoting company officials as saying.

SIG was established in April by a Japanese NGO, Reliance, which has provided humanitarian support in Sudan since the 1990s.

The company said it plans to use the profit from oil development to finance humanitarian support in Africa.

Nearly 3 people million are displaced inside in the western Darfur region, where they've been driven from their homes by war.

China, which has aggressively sought oil and gas supplies abroad, has already signed contracts with Sudan.
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UN reform: China opposes UN Security Council enlargement with Japan

Note above item, followed by this report by AFP June 3 via China Daily:

China would block any move to give Japan, India, Brazil and Germany permanent seats in an enlarged UN Security Council, China's UN ambassador Wang Guangya said.

"This is a dangerous move and certainly China will oppose it," Wang told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.

"It will split the house and destroy the unity and also derail the whole process of discussion on big UN reforms," Wang said.

China has opposed Japan being granted permanent status on the Security Council, demanding it first correct its attitude to its wartime history. Tensions between the two countries have risen in recent months.

Brazil, Germany, India and Japan have formed a group, called G4, to lobby for permanent seats on the Security Council.

It has circulated a draft resolution, which could be voted on at the UN General Assembly in September, proposing a 25-member Security Council, 10 more than now, with six new permanent members.

Wang said China leaned toward a rival plan, proposed by Italy, Mexico and Pakistan, to enlarge the Security Council to 25 members, but without additional veto-weilding permanent members.

"We see many good points in their formula because this will expand the Security Council and this will give certain members who they believe are important a longer term," he said.

In the Italy-Mexico-Pakistan plan, some non-permanent members could be re-elected at the end of their two-year stints on the Security Council, unlike the current practice.

The G4 nations plan to put their motion to the General Assembly if they are certain they will get the support of two thirds of the 191 UN members so that it will be passed.

The text does not say which countries should become permanent members but proposes two for Asia, two for Africa, one for Western Europe and one for Latin America.

Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe would each get one of the new non-permanent seats.

India, Japan, Germany and Brazil say that all of the new permanent members should have the same right to veto a resolution as the current five permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. But the United States has opposed extending the veto.

China could not technically block a motion put to the General Assembly but could kill it off later. The change to the Security Council would also require changes to the UN charter. This would have to be passed by the parliaments of two thirds of the UN members, including the five permanent members.

Altering the charter is the fourth stage in the G4 plan. Wang said, "I hope it will not come to the fourth stage."

Japan has made winning a permanent seat on the Security Council a top goal of its foreign policy. But China says Japan has not atoned enough for the past to deserve a seat.

China has strongly attacked Japan recently over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual pilgrimage to a shrine that honors Japanese war dead, including 14 war criminals.

China has called Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni shrine the biggest obstacle in bilateral relations. Amidst angry exchanges between the two countries over the shrine, Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi last week canceled a meeting with Koizumi in Tokyo. The shrine honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead.

Koizumi has defended his visits, saying the pilgrimage is a Japanese way to honor the dead. On Thursday, he again demanded that other countries not "interfere" and signalled he was ready to go again.
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Russia to train pilots for UN mission in Sudan

The Russian Defense Ministry has decided to send a helicopter squad to Sudan to train pilots and aviation engineers for the UN mission in the African country, a ministry source said Saturday.

Russia will send four Mi-24 helicopters and 100 to 110 pilots and other aviation personnel to Sudan by October, the Interfax news agency reported, citing the defense ministry source.

The ministry source said a similar helicopter squad is completing its work in Sierra Leone and will leave the country in September. (Xinhua) June 4, 2005 via SudanTribune.

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