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Sudan Tribune

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Peacekeepers’ boss warns of Chad-Sudan tension

May 20, 2009 (EL FASHER) — The African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, called today for an end to recent fighting near the Chadian-Sudanese border and urged the two countries to refrain from escalating tensions between them.

Rodolphe Adada, African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur (AFP)
Rodolphe Adada, African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur (AFP)
“I am deeply concerned by the rising tensions and violence in the border area between Chad and Sudan, and I call on all parties to immediately cease fighting,” he said.

The statement comes after a rebel invasion of Chad launched from Sudan and a counter-attack that prompted the Sudanese army to issue late Tuesdsay a response pledging to “crush” any Chadian forces crossing into its borders.

It also follows a more specific allegation that Chadian forces had taken part in overrunning Sudanese army forces at the town of Kornoi on Saturday. Chad admits to having undertaken air strikes within Darfur.

“I urge the Governments of Chad and Sudan to refrain from any act that may lead to a further escalation of tensions, which could exacerbate the suffering of Darfur’s civilians, particularly the many internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the region,” said Adada, who is the top civilian official for the UN-African Union Mission, known as UNAMID.

The official went on to endorse a peace commitment signed on the eve of the invasion of Chad: “I ask them to fully adhere to the accords they have signed, especially the Doha Agreement on 3 May this year.”

“As I told the UN Security Council last month, the poor state of relations between Chad and Sudan constitutes one of the biggest threats to efforts to secure lasting peace for the people of Darfur,” he said.

“I echo the recent statements on this issue by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping. There is no military solution to either the Darfur conflict or to the problems between Chad, Sudan and the opposition groups within the two countries. Dialogue is the only way forward.”

Despite attending preliminary confidence-building talks, the Chad-backed rebel Justice and Equality Movement has refused to participate in full negotiations with the Government of Sudan.

The Chadian president recently rejected any African Union role in mediating the conflict with his neighbour, criticizing the body and its current head, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.