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Senegal's President Convinces Sudan to Restore Ties with Chad

Senegal's president, Abdoulaye Wade, has convinced his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir to reestablish diplomatic relations with Chad. The effort is Mr. Wade's latest attempt at diplomacy in the turbulent relationship between Sudan and its neighbor. For VOA, Brent Latham has more from our West and Central Africa bureau in Dakar.

A spokesman for Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade says President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has accepted what he called a "brotherly appeal" from Mr. Wade to restore diplomatic ties with neighboring Chad.

The spokesman, Amadou Sall, says the two leaders had an extended phone conversation, and Mr. al-Bashir accepted the recommendation to restore relations.

"President Wade talked to President Omar al-Bashir during all this day, we had a long distance conversation and it was the advice of the president, and now it is done," he said.

Relations between Chad and Sudan have a turbulent recent history. Each state has accused the other of supporting rebel factions acting across their respective borders.

Sudan broke diplomatic ties with Chad after a rebel attack on the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on May 11. At the time, Mr. al-Bashir claimed the enemy combatants were Chadians supported by Chad's government.

Chad blames Sudan for supporting a rebel uprising in Eastern Chad that sacked the Chadian capital, N'djamena, last year, and threatened to do so again last month.

The leaders of the two countries came together at a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference states held in Dakar in March. There, Mr. Wade brokered a deal to work towards stability and peace.

Sall says the framework established by those meetings provided the impetus for Mr. Wade's current effort to establish a dialogue between Chad and Sudan.

"The agreement of Dakar created a council of reconciliation and made the council to control the movement between the two borders," he said. "And this group, the council, met yesterday in Dakar and they encouraged President Wade to ask [the leaders] to consider restitution and establish a friendship relation."

The council meeting in Dakar was mediated by Senegal Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, and included the Sudanese and Chadian foreign ministers.

Sall says Mr. Wade will continue his efforts at bringing the two sides together. He says Mr. Wade is determined to bring both sides to the table yet again. Mr. Wade, a lawyer and long-time opposition leader, has been president of Senegal since 2000.