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Sudan Given Notice of Break in Relations With Chad

Sudan says it has now received official notice that Chadian President Idris Deby has severed diplomatic ties between Chad and Sudan. Mr. Deby made the announcement following an attempted coup on Thursday. Chad has accused Sudan of aiding the rebels who launched an attack on the capital, N'Djamena, in an attempt to unseat Mr. Deby, charges Sudan denies.

Sudan and Chad are facing what Sudan calls a diplomatic crisis following the severing of diplomatic ties between the two nations. Chadian President Idris Deby announced that he would cut ties with Sudan on Friday. Sudan says it was not officially informed of the move until Saturday.

Mr. Deby has accused Sudan of aiding rebels from the United Front for Change. The rebels launched a pre-dawn raid on N'Djamena on Thursday, after sweeping across the country from the Sudan-Chad border. They were allegedly attempting to depose Mr. Deby prior to presidential elections slated for May 3rd.

Spokesman for the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Jamal Ibrahim, says Sudan was informed of the decision to cut ties this morning.

"This morning the Chadian government called the Sudanese charge d'affaires in N'Djamena and he was informed officially that Chad has decided unilaterally to cease diplomatic relations with Sudan," he said. "It is a crisis, but we think that it is a temporary one and it can be resolved within the African Union."

Chad and Sudan have long traded accusations of attempts to cause unrest. Chad says its suspicions were confirmed by this weeks attempted coup, and claims it has evidence that will tie the rebels to Khartoum. According to news reports some of the captured rebels say they are from Sudan.

Sudan, meanwhile, insists that it did not arm or train rebels from the United Front for Change.

The Sudanese spokesman told VOA that no weapons or troops came from Sudan. As for the allegations that some of the rebels are Sudanese, Ibrahim says it is nearly impossible to distinguish Chadians from Sudanese along the vast, porous Sudan-Chad border.

"All the Chadian allegations are baseless," he added. "Finding evidence to prove that these weapons or the Chadian or Sudanese troops have been trained in Sudan or have been trained in. You know all tribes along the border are the same tribes in Sudan as well as in Chad. They are the same tribes. It is very difficult to decide whether a person is a Chadian or a Sudanese."

The Sudan-Chad border runs along Sudan's western Darfur region where a humanitarian crisis has raged for three years. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from that conflict have fled to Chad. Mr. Deby Friday threatened to expel some 200,000 Sudanese refugees from Chadian territory.

In February, Sudan and Chad signed a non-aggression pact under the auspices of Libyan mediators. Each nation has since accused the other of violating that agreement.