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Chadian president pays landmark visit to Sudan

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-08

President Idriss Deby of Chad said he had come "like a dove" as he arrived in Khartoum on Monday for a rare visit aimed at consolidating a thaw in ties between the two neighbouring countries.

REUTERS - Chadian President Idriss Deby on Monday began a rare visit to Sudan, part of a rapprochement aimed at ending a proxy war between the two African neighbours.

Rebels from Darfur attacked Khartoum in 2008 and Sudan said they came with arms and men from Chad. Deby was besieged months earlier by rebels he said had camps in Sudan's western Darfur region.

"There will be serious discussions aimed at achieving a lasting solution to (these) issues," Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor told reporters on Deby's arrival in Khartoum.

The two countries have agreed to a joint border force to patrol the long and porous border, whose head quarters will be in West Darfur's capital el-Geneina.

Sudan analysts say Darfur peace talks cannot succeed without a solution to the tense relations between Chad and Sudan. A Qatari-sponsored peace process has made little progress with rebel groups divided and the mediation yet to agree on an agenda.

The United Nations estimates 300,000 have died and more than 2 million forced from their homes to makeshift camps in Darfur, since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms accusing Khartoum of neglecting their region seven years ago.

Deby went straight into closed door talks with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Deby is due to address Chadian and Sudanese nationals in the capital on Tuesday.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will reconsider genocide charges against Bashir, who is already wanted for seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Deby has told the United Nations he does not want the mandate of the U.N. border monitoring mission called MINURCAT to be renewed in March, a cause for concern for the international community.

Sudan and Chad have previously had a joint border patrol force, but they failed to prevent rebels from both sides penetrating the frontier.

Deby himself took power in 1990 in a rebellion launched from Sudan's Darfur.

Date created : 2010-02-08