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Sudan, Chad Agree to End Hostilities

The presidents of Chad and Sudan have agreed to end hostilities and normalize relations between their countries.

Chadian President Idriss Deby and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir spoke to reporters Tuesday after meeting in Sudan's capital, Khartoum.

Mr. Bashir said Mr. Deby's visit has "put an end to all the problems between Sudan and Chad." The Chadian president said his visit marks a "new page" in relations between the two countries.

The two leaders said they plan joint projects to help those affected by the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region. They also pledged to support Darfur peace talks.

Relations between Chad and Sudan have been hostile for several years. Sudan has accused Chad of supporting rebels in Darfur, while Chad has accused Sudan of backing rebels trying to topple Mr. Deby's government.

The central African neighbors have signed at least five other agreements and peace deals, none of which have been implemented.

Relations improved late last year following high-level talks about ending the rebel attacks and a new agreement to create a joint border security force.

The countries share a border of more than 900 kilometers that is difficult to protect and relatively easy for rebels to cross.

The Darfur conflict has run since 2003, when rebels rose up against Sudan's government. The United Nations says the conflict has killed up to 300,000 people and displaced some 2.7 million others.

About a quarter-million of those displaced are living in camps in eastern Chad.

Sudan puts the death toll from the conflict much lower, at 10,000.

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