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Leaders Rush to Contain Violence in Chad, Sudan

Tensions remain high after clashes between Chad and Sudan's forces earlier this week when dozens were killed on both sides of the border. Leaders from around the world are stepping forward as peace brokers. But analysts say politicking between heads of states will not bring peace as long as rebel groups are sidelined in the peace process. Phuong Tran has this report from VOA's West and Central Africa bureau in Dakar.

South African President Thabo Mbeki and diplomats from Libya visited the region soon after Monday's border violence. U.S. diplomats are expected to visit in the coming days.

Dave Mozersky, director of the non-profit conflict resolution organization, International Crisis Group, says these and other peace brokers need to avoid mistakes from previous failed peace deals.

"In order to have a realistic peace process, a chance to really develop broad based support and deal with the root causes of conflict, it cannot be a short three-day or five-day summit," he said. "The international community needs to undertake a serious long-term political process."

Last February, Chad and Sudan's presidents signed a peace agreement in Libya promising not to fight on each other's soil, nor support each other's rebels, but that failed to stop the violence.

Mozersky says one reason is because the agreement was politically unrealistic.

"It is almost inconceivable that either president would be truly willing to do that, for one, and number two, would necessarily have the power to sway their own governments, their own institutions to cut off ties, to cut off support easily," he added.

Mozersky says another flaw is peace deals have not had the full participation of rebels from both countries.

"To solve this problem, you do not need an agreement between the countries," he explained. "You need an agreement between the rebel groups in their respective countries and their governments."

But efforts to engage rebels have been difficult because the groups are fragmented, with multiple opposition groups, leaders and political agendas.

Analyst Mozersky says peace brokers need to reach out to both countries' major armed groups in order to create a realistic and lasting peace deal.

"It would need to be inclusive to be successful," he said. "It would include Darfur's Arab tribes that were excluded from previous peace agreements. On the other side in Chad, there needs to be a political dialogue between the Chadian rebels and the Chadian government."

Libyan and Eritrean military and security observers were deployed this week at the border between Sudan and Chad, joining African Union peacekeepers.

Five African Union peacekeepers were killed in ambushes at the end of last month near the Chad/Sudan border, strengthening calls for more peacekeepers.

Still under negotiation is the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers along the border, which both Chad and Sudan have refused.