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Chad's Deby to visit Sudan next week after years of tension

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-04

Chad's President Idriss Deby (pictured) said Wednesday he would travel to Khartoum next week to meet Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, underscoring a thaw in relations between the two neighbours.

REUTERS - Chad's President Idriss Deby said on Wednesday he would travel to Sudan next week for talks, his first visit there in six years of rocky relations between the two oil-producing rivals.

Chad and Sudan have repeatedly traded accusations of supporting each other's rebels, which are mostly based along their remote shared border. Analysts say they have waged a proxy war through these forces since 2005.

"Chad wants to live in perfect harmony with all its neighbours. I will travel on Feb. 8 to Khartoum for talks with (Sudanese President Omar Hassan) al-Bashir," Deby told a group of parliamentarians from Francophone countries, in comments broadcast on Chadian radio.

"I am a man of dialogue and openness. War has never resolved anything and I know what I am talking about," Deby added.

Deby last visited Sudan in 2004 but he has since been repeatedly accused of backing Sudanese Darfuri rebels, who have fought against the central government in Khartoum.

Sudan, meanwhile, has been accused of backing and providing refuge to a plethora of anti-Deby rebel groups, who have launched several lightning strikes on the capital, N'Djamena, nearly ousting Deby in 2008.

Chad and Sudan have signed numerous agreements aimed at halting hostilities between the two nations but they have often collapsed during bouts of fighting on both sides of the border.

The two nations have reinstated ambassadors in a sign of progress during this latest warming of relations.

The conflict in eastern Chad and western Sudan has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and led to international peacekeeping missions in both countries.

Last week, Chad told its United Nations peacekeeping mission, which is protecting aid workers and displaced civilians in the east, to withdraw, ending a mission that the government has always deeply distrusted.

Date created : 2010-02-04

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