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African Union to assess root causes of Sudan, Chad CAR tensions

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May 20, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — A delegation from the African Union will start a ten-day visit to Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) to assess root causes of the tensions created by the Darfur crisis in the region, an AU statement said Sunday.

The statement said six envoys from the African Union Peace and Security Council would this week visit the Sudan and its two western neighbours to "undertake a comprehensive assessment of the situation on the ground."

"The mission is also tasked to identify the obstacles impeding the implementation of the agreements signed by Chad and the Sudan, in particular the Tripoli Agreement, in order to make recommendations that would lead to a durable solution to the problems of the region." it added.

The AU delegation will be led Obioma Philip Oparah, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Ethiopia and the AU, the country chairing the Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of May 2007, and will include five other members of the PSC, one member per region, and some officers of the AU Commission.

The visit follows the decision of the 70th meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), held on 12 and 13 February 2007, in which the Council decided to dispatch a mission to Chad, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Sudan to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the situation on the ground.

The delegation is planning to visit Sudan from 21st to 24 May, Chad from 24 to 27 May and CAR from 27 to 29 May 2007.

Sudan and Chad accuse each other of supporting rebel forces in their respective territories amid international fears that the continuing strife in Darfur will spill over into Chad and ignite a regional war.

Fighting in Sudan’s western Darfur region that started in 2003 has also spread into the Central African Republic.

The United Nations estimates that some 200,000 people have died in Darfur and 2.5 million have been displaced since 2003.

(ST)

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