Chadian President Idriss Deby and Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir late Thursday signed a long-awaited agreement in Senegal’s capital, Dakar to end attacks across their shared border. The agreement was brokered by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and witnessed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Ibrahim Bakhoum is editor of the African Press Agency. From Dakar, he told VOA the two leaders appealed to the international community to help make the new agreement hold.
“What I can tell you is that it was very hard to get this agreement because as you know Wednesday as everybody was waiting for the two presidents, Bashir didn’t come because he said he was sick. So they decided to meet again on Thursday. And you had President Wade, President (Omar) Bongo of Libreville, Gabon, and Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. President Wade decided that he wanted to have someone to be an eyewitness to that. And today the two presidents decided to sign the agreement saying that from now on none of them will help another rebel groups to attack the other country,” he said.
Bakhoum said the two leaders appealed to the international community to help them respect the new agreement.
“They want to have an international force to be sure that none of them will violate this agreement. They didn’t say one country or another. They just said the African Union and other countries. They want Libya; they want Congo, Senegal, and Gabon not for the forces but just to be here for the agreement to make sure everybody will respect it. Of course Senegal is the new common. But Libya was in the conflict many, many years,” Bakhoum said.
Chad and Sudan have signed several agreements in the past to end their conflict, but those agreements have never been respected by both countries. Bakhoum said there was something special about the Dakar agreement.
“For the first time the Secretary General of the United Nations was present. The president of the African Union Commission is here, and President Sarkozy (of France) sent someone to be an eyewitness. It’s the first time you have 11 representatives of countries, of organizations, even the Prime Minister of Turkey was here too. But I’m not sure if it is the best one. But what is particular is that it is the first time you have all those personalities to help with the signature. And from now on, I think, even if they don’t want to agree, President opened a door to the international community to intervene there,” Bakhoum said.