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Experts to meet next week to discuss deployment of Sudan-Chad force

June 13, 2008 (BRAZZAVILLE) – Defence and intelligence experts on the establishment of border monitoring force on the 1500 km long common border between Sudan and Chad will meet in Dakar, Senegal, next week.

The contact group charged with the implementation of Dakar Agreement held a ministerial meeting in the Congolese capital Brazzaville with the participation of Sudanese and Chadian delegations on June 9.

The two neighbouring countries signed a non-aggression deal on March 13, 2008 in Dakar, on the sidelines of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). According to signed deal, Sudan and Chad agreed to deploy a peacekeeping force to ensure stability on the joint border and to establish a contact group charged with the implementation of the deal.

"Experts should study and plan for a swift deployment of the peace and security force at the border of Chad and Sudan, two neighbouring countries, whose relations were strained after the raids against their capitals by rebel groups; " says a text released at the end of Brazzaville meeting.

Shan and Chad accuse each other of supporting their respective rebel movement. The Sudan considers Chad as the bridgehead for Darfur rebels who attacked Khartoum on May 10, while Chad sees the hand of Sudan behind the aborted rebel raid against N’Djamena, on February 2.

Sudan, which boycotted the second meeting of the group in Tripoli last May, was represented by the secretary general of the foreign ministry, Mutrif Sidiq.

The meeting discussed the report of experts on defence and security and also assessed relations between Chad and Sudan. The contact group also unanimously condemned the attack perpetrated by the Justice and Equality Movement on the Sudanese capital last May, and urged both countries to stop issuing any media statements that might aggravate their common dispute.

The contact group also called the international community to take initiatives in order to prevent the already "tense situation" from escalating further.

The Dakar meeting of experts scheduled to be held from 20 to 22 June 2008, has to continue and expand the work begun in Tripoli (Libya), to plan for a swift implementation of the peace and security force at the Chad-Sudan border.

The meeting gathered experts on defence, security and intelligence from the Contact Group countries composed of Congo, Eritrea, Gabon, Libya and Senegal, with the participation of other specialists from the United Nations, the European Union (EU), Britain, France and the United States.

(ST)