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Chad is keen to quickly ease tensions with Sudan – FM

July 12, 2006 (N’DJAMENA) — Chad’s government wants to ease tensions with neighboring Sudan over the conflict that has spilled from Sudan’s Darfur region, Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-mi has said.

Idriss_Deby_press.jpgAllam-mi was speaking on returning from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on Tuesday, where he discussed political and security matters with Sudanese officials. The talks were intended to ease tensions after each government accused the other of supporting its rebels.

Last month, Chad complained to the U.N. Security Council that Sudan was backing armed groups who were carrying out raids in eastern Chad, across the border from Darfur. Sudan had previously accused Chad of supporting Darfur rebels, who continue fighting in several areas despite a May 5 peace accord. The deal was signed by the main Darfur rebel group but rejected by smaller factions.

“We went to Khartoum to mark our will for a settling of the crisis between Sudan and Chad in a peaceful and rapid way,” Allam-mi said.

His visit followed a meeting between Chadian President Idriss Deby and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir on the sidelines of the African Union summit early this month, at the initiative of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Decades of low-level clashes in Darfur over land and water erupted in early 2003 when ethnic Africans took up arms against the Arab-led government in Khartoum, which responded with a counterinsurgency campaign that is accused of widespread atrocities.

The conflict has killed 200,000 people and displaced another 2 million. Some 235,000 refugees from Darfur fled across the border into Chad. And an estimated 50,000 Chadians have fled their homes near the border in recent months.

(ST/AP)

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