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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sudan and Chad agree to Not Support Each other's Rebels


After hours of wrangling over the text of their sixth peace accord in two years, Chadian President Idriss Deby and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir signed the latest agreement late on 13 March in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, vowing once again to stop providing support to rebel groups opposing the other.

The stated aim of the accord is "to put an end, once and for all, to disputes between the two countries and re-establish peace in the sub-region."

The accord was mediated by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and signed during the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in the presence of UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon and an array of African leaders and Arab and western diplomats.

Past agreements also called on both sides to stop providing safe haven to rebel groups.
  • In Chad, rebels bent on ousting President Deby have launched countless attacks including one in February which reached the capital N'djamena.
  • In Sudan, rebels are fighting government forces and allied militias in Darfur the region bordering Chad.

A new element in the latest accord is that Chad and Sudan agree to a "contact group" led by Libya and the Republic of Congo which would meet monthly and monitor compliance.

Chadian rebels have already dismissed the new peace pact and vowed to pursue their campaign to overthrow President Deby unless he agreed to a dialogue, according to reports.

Yet the sultan of the Fur, the largest ethnic group in Darfur, was optimistic about the new agreement. "I am hopeful that Sudan and Chad will stop supporting each other's rebels and this will reduce tensions," Sultan Salah Eldine Mahamat Fadoul told IRIN in an exclusive interview while visiting Dakar for the OIC meeting.

"I think Chad and Sudan really need to calm the situation down. The [proxy] war between them has cost them both a lot," he said.

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