The Chadian government has begun talks with rebel groups in the wake of a recent coup attempt, Chadian Foreign Minister Ahmad Allam-Mi said. But rebels deny negotiating with the government.
N'DJAMENA, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Rebels opposed to Chad's
President Idriss Deby on Thursday denied they were holding talks
with the government, contradicting the foreign minister's
statement that negotiations were under way.
Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-Mi told reporters in Brussels
after meeting senior European Union officials that the
government was negotiating "at this moment" with the rebels.
But he provided no further details.
"It is completely untrue. It is absolutely untrue. There are
no negotiations. It is a manipulation of information, an attempt
to brainwash international opinion," rebel spokesman Ali Henchi
Ordjo told Reuters.
Deby and senior Chadian government officials have previously
dismissed the idea of talks with the rebels, saying the army
defeated a rebel assault on the capital N'Djamena earlier this
Several peace deals between Deby's government and the
rebels, brokered by Libya and Saudi Arabia, have collapsed over
the last year.
Chad says the insurgents, who denounce Deby's 18-year rule
as corrupt and dictatorial, are backed by neighbouring Sudan, a
charge denied by Khartoum.
Instability in Chad, whose eastern border region with Sudan
is sheltering half a million refugees from Darfur and Chadians
displaced by violence, has hampered humanitarian efforts to
provide relief supplies.
The first Irish troops to be deployed in Chad as part of a
European Union peacekeeping force to protect the displaced
arrived in the capital N'Djamena on Thursday and were due to go
straight to the turbulent border region.
The Irish soldiers -- who will eventually number 450 -- will
be the second biggest foreign military contingent in the country
after those from former colonial power France, whose troops will
make up the majority of the 3,700-strong EU force (EUFOR).
The EU mission to Chad complements a much bigger African
Union/United Nations peacekeeping force planned for Darfur.
The first 50 members of the Irish Army Ranger Wing who
arrived on Thursday will immediately begin trying to identify
base camp areas around the eastern towns of Abeche and Goz Beida,
the Irish army has said.
Date created : 2008-02-21