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Chad's President Accepts EU Force in East

Chad's President Idriss Deby has agreed to allow a European Union peacekeeping force in the eastern part of his country to protect people affected by violence spreading from neighboring Sudan's Darfur region.

Mr. Deby said Thursday that while details of the deployment are still being discussed, an international force is important to protect refugees and the displaced, as well as to prevent incursions by government-backed Arab militias.

The Chadian president's comments came after he met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a main proponent of the proposed force. It is still unknown how many troops could be deployed.

Tens of thousands of refugees have fled Sudan's western Darfur region for Chad since fighting began in Darfur four years ago.

Sudan and Chad accuse each other of supporting rebel forces active along the Darfur border.

Last month, Sudan agreed under strong international pressure to accept a joint United Nations-African Union force numbering about 20,000 troops into Darfur.

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