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US Diplomat In Chad to Discuss Oil Revenue Dispute

A senior U.S. envoy has arrived in Chad to discuss the country's dispute with the World Bank over how oil revenues are used.

Donald Yamamoto, the deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, is scheduled to meet with Chadian President Idriss Deby. Yamamoto also plans to meet with top ministers and members of the Chadian opposition.

Chad has threatened to cut off oil production this week unless the World Bank unfreezes more than $100 million in oil royalties held in a London bank account.

The World Bank froze the money after Chad's parliament scrapped laws that channeled most of the money into health and education programs and set aside a portion for future generations.

The Bank had agreed to fund a major oil pipeline on the condition that Chad use oil revenue to combat poverty.

Last week, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Yamamoto will also stress the need for Chad's government to talk with opposition leaders.

President Deby angered many opposition leaders when he changed the constitution so he could run for re-election on May 3.

The president has said the elections will go on as scheduled despite a growing insurgency. Government forces fought off a rebel attack on the capital N'Djamena earlier this month.

Journalists say Yamamoto declined to make a statement upon arrival at the N'Djamena airport Monday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.