Accessibility links

Presidents of Sudan, Chad Discuss Darfur Border Security - 2004-07-10


The presidents of Sudan and Chad met Saturday in the Darfur region of western Sudan to discuss the humanitarian crisis in the area and security along the border between the two countries.

Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Idriss Deby of Chad were in West Darfur's capital, al-Geneina, trying to work out security arrangements in the volatile area.

High on their agenda was discussion of a joint border patrol force to stop cross-border attacks and raids on refugees and Chadian security forces by janjaweed militia operating in Darfur. There was no word from the summit, but a local radio reported setting up the joint force would depend on the disarmament of militia groups.

Also on the agenda was the situation of more than 100,000 Sudanese refugees who fled into Chad to escape the violence at home. The United Nations calls the Darfur crisis the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

Fighting between the janjaweed militia, which many say is being backed by the Sudanese government, two rebel groups and government broke out in Darfur more than a year ago.

The rebels say they are struggling against economic and ethnic repression by the government, while the government attributes the fighting to bandits and criminal elements.

The spokesman for the African Union, Desmond Orjiako, says his organization is ready to work with the two presidents on whatever plans they come up with.

He says the summit is a positive sign.

"It was good that Sudan and Chad had a one-to-one discussion," he said. "That will bring about better understanding in order to create peace in the region."

The presidents' meeting follows a decision made at the AU summit earlier this week to send AU cease-fire monitors to Darfur and troops to protect them.

The Sudan government and the rebel groups signed the cease-fire agreement last April, but both sides have since then accused each other of violations.

XS
SM
MD
LG