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UN Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting on Chad

The United Nations Security Council held a rare Sunday evening session to discuss rebel efforts in Chad to overthrow the government. But as VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from U.N. headquarters in New York, the emergency meeting ended without any formal action.

France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters following the nearly four-hour meeting that there is no disagreement on the language of a French-drafted statement expressing grave concern about the situation, but that some delegations needed more time to consult with their capitals.

France, the former colonial power in Chad, called Sunday's emergency meeting together with the three African members of the council - South Africa, Burkina Faso and Libya.

Ambassador Ripert says the 15-member council will resume consultations on Chad Monday morning.

"We want the Security Council, as soon as possible, to react, first of all by supporting the decision of the African Union to mandate Colonel Gaddafi and the president of the Republic of Congo to mediate and to try to put an end to the fighting, and to recall that the AU has asked for and has condemned very strongly this aggression against the legal authorities of Chad and condemn any kind of attempt to seize by force the power in Chad," said Jean-Maurice Ripert.

He added council members also want to respond to a letter from the government of Chad received Sunday, appealing to member states to provide the necessary assistance to end the rebellion.

Earlier Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to the fighting in Chad. In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Ban said he is "profoundly alarmed by the dangerous situation in Chad." He expressed concern at the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the displacement of several hundred thousand people.

The UN has pulled out all its staff - about 150 people - from Chad.

The violence began last week, when Chadian rebels launched an offensive from bases in Sudan. Chad's president accuses Sudan of being behind the rebellion, a charge Khartoum denies.

African, European and American officials have condemned the Chadian rebel assault. It has forced the postponement of the deployment of a planned European peacekeeping force in Chad and the Central African Republic, in the violence-wracked region that borders Sudan's war-torn Darfur province.