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Chad, Sudan Leaders to Meet in Senegal


Chadian President Idriss Deby is expected to meet with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir next week on the sidelines of an international conference in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also expected to attend the meeting aimed at ending a long-standing conflict between Chad and Sudan. For VOA, Nancy Palus reports from Dakar.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade recently sent envoys to Chad and Sudan in preparation for the March 12 meeting between the two leaders.

Mr. Wade's spokesman Amadou Sall says the Senegalese leader has submitted proposals to both sides in an effort to arrive at a peace accord.

The Senegalese presidential spokesman says the two sides appear ready to find a solution.

The meeting between Chadian President Idriss Deby and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is planned for the eve of a March 13 and 14 summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Dakar. Over 30 heads of state are expected to attend.

The planned meeting comes just weeks after rebels marched on the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, in the latest of several attempts to oust President Deby. Mr. Deby blamed Sudan for backing the rebels.

Mr. Deby and Mr. Bashir have long accused one another of fomenting rebellions in their respective countries. Chad shares a border with Sudan's Darfur region, where fighting among rebels, militias and the government has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The Chad and Sudan leaders have signed several peace agreements but the region's many conflicts continue and have even intensified in recent weeks.

The U.N secretary-general - whose spokeswoman confirmed he would attend the Dakar Islamic organization conference - has said ending violence in Darfur is one of his main priorities. A hybrid United Nations, African Union peacekeeping force has been trying to deploy in the region, but has been slowed down amid negotiations with Sudan's government.

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