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Chad rebels restart peace-building talks with interim military authorities

MAHAMAT RAMADANE

CHAD rebels said they would renew their participation in peace-building talks with the interim authorities, after breaking off negotiations last week.

The decision revives the possibility of their participation in a national dialogue in August that is meant to be a precursor to long-awaited elections after interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby seized power following his father’s death last year.

In a statement, the rebel groups said they would resume talks, without giving further details. They had earlier accused the interim authorities of creating a “bad atmosphere” at negotiations in Qatar.

Deby declared himself head of a Transitional Military Council in April 2021 after his father, Chad’s longtime ruler Idriss Deby, was killed while visiting troops fighting the rebel insurgency in the north.

Initially, his council had said it would oversee an 18-month transition to democratic rule, but it has shown little sign of organising elections as that deadline nears.

The Chadian authorities have set Aug. 20 as the date for the national dialogue. Deby has presented this as the first step towards planning a vote. It would in theory include the armed groups, but the conditions for their participation have not yet been agreed on.

Pressure has started to grow from opposition groups within Chad and bilateral partners to advance the transition process.

Chad is an ally of France and other Western countries in the fight against Islamist militants in Africa’s Sahel region.