Home | News    Wednesday 19 September 2007

Chadian president to discuss Darfur crisis with Chinese officials

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September 18, 2007 (N’DJAMENA) — Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno is to discuss the Darfur conflict and sign oil and gas deals during a four-day visit to China starting Wednesday, Chadian officials said.

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Iddris Deby

Deby will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday to discuss "security problems" tied to the Darfur conflict in Sudan, just across Chad’s western border, a Chadian diplomatic source told AFP.

Numerous human rights organisations accuse China of not putting enough pressure on Sudan to stop violence in Darfur, in order to preserve its oil interests there.

Deby is also scheduled to sign agreements in Beijing with Chinese companies in the oil, mining, cement, and energy sectors, according to the source.

Chad is an increasingly important oil exporter and China is building a major presence in Africa, particularly aiming to guarantee supplies of oil and other commodities for its booming economy.

N’Djamena and Beijing re-established diplomatic relations in August 2006, nine years after they were broken off.

At least 200,000 people have died from the combined effect of war and famine since civil strife started in Darfur February 2003, according to UN estimates.

Sudan and Chad accuse each other of supporting rebel forces in their respective territories.

The United Nations has estimated that there are 236,000 refugees and 173,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Chad, with daunting logistical problems for humanitarian workers.

(AFP)

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