Sudan, Chad sign new peace deal

March 14th, 2008 - 12:25 pm ICT by admin  

Dakar (Senegal), March 14 (Xinhua) Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Chadian President Idriss Deby have signed a peace deal here to end years of hostility between the two neighbouring countries. Thursday’s deal, the latest in a series of peace agreements aimed at pacifying their troubled relations, commits both nations to implement past accords that have so far failed to help end violence in the area.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived here Wednesday, and Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, who is also African Union Chairman, were present at the signing ceremony.

The two countries have constantly blamed each other for supporting the neighbour’s rebels, who are fighting in the border area between Sudan’s Darfur region and eastern Chad.

The two presidents, who are in Dakar to attend the 11th summit of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), met earlier Thursday under the mediation of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

“This is the first time that the OIC and UN cooperate on regional peace and stability issue, which is very good,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor said to reporters after the signing ceremony.

The signing of the pact came shortly after the two governments traded accusations over an alleged rebel offensive on eastern Chad.

“On Wednesday, Sudan launched several heavily armed columns against Chad. These mercenaries crossed our border near the town of Moudeina,” the Chadian National Radio reported Thursday, referring to the border town that is located about 160 km southeast of Abeche, the main town in eastern Chad.

The Sudanese government denied it had armed Chadian rebels in their territory and sent them across the borders into east Chad.

“We totally deny the accusation,” Ali al-Sadig, spokesman of the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, told Xinhua.

The Sudanese government “has no idea of the Chadian rebels moving around the border areas”, said al-Sadig.

“This accusation proved that Chad has no keenness to realise the reconciliation and normalise its relations with Sudan,” the spokesman said.

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