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Chad to Withdraw From African Union If Sudan Assumes Presidency

A high-ranking official from Chad says the central African nation will withdraw from the African Union (AU) if Sudan assumes the organization's revolving presidency.

Chad Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-Mi told reporters Saturday that if Sudanese President Omar Bashir takes over as chairman of the AU as scheduled, Chad will suspend participation in the organization until he is replaced.

Allam-Mi made the comments in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa where officials are gathering ahead of next week's AU Summit.

Sudan was scheduled to assume the AU the presidency last year, but stepped aside because of the situation in Darfur. It was agreed Sudan would then take the presidency this year.

But Allam-Mi says the situation in Darfur is worse than it was a year ago and relations between Chad and Sudan have deteriorated as well.

At least one rebel group has warned it will attack the AU peacekeeping forces in Darfur if Bashir assumes the AU chairmanship.

More than 200,000 people have died and more than two million others have been displaced since fighting between Darfur rebels and Sudan's government began in early 2003.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.