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Chad's Government Dismisses Pressure to Postpone Elections

Officials in Chad have dismissed international calls to postpone a presidential election set for next Wednesday.

The country's Foreign Affairs Minister, Ahmad Allami, says Chad condemns the groups that are calling for the delay.

The United States and the African Union have urged the government to postpone the vote. It is scheduled just a few weeks after Chad's army repelled a rebel offensive on the capital N'Djamena.

Opposition groups promise to boycott the election. The Roman Catholic church of Chad has appealed to the government and rebels to avoid "a catastrophe" by declaring a cease-fire and suspending the election timetable.

But President Idriss Deby has said elections will proceed as scheduled.

Mr. Deby is running for a third term, after supporting a referendum last year that removed constitutional term limits for the presidency.

President Deby seized power in a 1990 coup. He has since won two multiparty elections in 1996 and 2001.

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