Sudan and neighboring Chad are expected to hold
peace talks Friday to resolve recent diplomatic spats and create a lasting
peace agreement. The talks, organized by
other Islamic countries, will take place in Qatar's capital, Doha. They are
aimed at mending testy relations between Khartoum and Ndjamena. The two countries have often traded
accusations of supporting insurgent groups and rebel attacks inside each
other's territories. Last May, Khartoum accused Chadian President Idriss Deby
of involvement in an attack on the Sudanese capital by Darfur rebels.
Rashid Abdi of the International Crisis Group told VOA that implementation of
the outcome of Friday's talks will be their most daunting challenge.
first thing I will say definitely that there is a galvanization and a very
serious attempt by the Arab mediators to bring these two countries on the
negotiating table so that they can resolve their longstanding differences. And
I think that now there is a lot of seriousness on the part of the Arab
mediators to broker a solution is perhaps indicative of the gravity of the
He said there are reasons to
believe that Friday's talks would be demanding.
"Judging by past accords or
agreements between Sudan and Chad, one would be forgiven for being skeptical,
of course. But I think a lot of things have happened, and I think time has come
for these two countries to resolve their differences and to work amicably
together. And that would unlock obviously or bring a resolution to the Darfur
problem because at the center of the Darfur problem is of course these tensions
between the two countries," he said.
Abdi said finding an
instantaneous panacea for the testy diplomatic relations between Khartoum and
Ndjamena would be challenging.
"It will be difficult for
these two countries to reach an immediate solution. But the fact that they have
began talking and the Arab mediators are now more serious than perhaps before I
think is definitely a very positive and a welcome move," Abdi said.
He said it would be hard to
find a solution to the problems between Khartoum and Ndjamena after both
countries continue trading accusations of supporting rebel groups in their
"I think that is the key
question. If each country had a suspicion and continues to back the rebels
groups of the other, then I think this problem would never be resolved. But the
key is to keep the line of communication open to de-escalate the tension and
possibly arrive at a solution sometime in the future. I don't think the Qatar
talks would resolve all the problems between these two countries," he said.
Abdi said despite the frosty
relations, there is hope in finding a solution.
"I think the fact that there
is now an energetic push to try to resolve this problem and to keep the line of
communication open, I think, is significant. And these efforts must be
encouraged, and I think lauded as well," Abdi said.
He said past talks between
the two countries have not had much success putting their outcomes into
"I think the implementation
has always been the problem. Whenever these two leaders from both countries and
their mediators meet at these diplomatic forums, the talk is always positive.
And after the handshake and after the photo opportunities, these leaders go
back to their home countries and again the problem begins afresh," he said.
Abdi said it was important
for both countries to resolve the impasse which would go a long way in helping
to alleviate the suffering of their peoples.
"I think people are tired,
Darfuris are tired, and everyone in the region is tired. I think time has come for the leaders of this
region to once and for all finish this problem because there is a serious
humanitarian problem in Darfur which needs resolution. And it is not only the
border tension or the problem of insurgency in both countries which is the
core. The core I think is Darfur, and once this tension between these countries
is resolved, then I think the harder task would be the Darfur crisis," Abdi
currently holds the chairmanship of the Africa Union, and host Qatar, are the
principal countries organizing Friday's Doha talks, which some political
observers hope can bring peace to the Darfur region.