Presidents of Chad and Sudan Meet to Discuss Rebellion in Western Sudan, 04/13/03

Presidents of Chad and Sudan meet to discuss rebellion in western Sudan

N'DJAMENA, Chad, Apr 13, 2003 (AP) -- President Idriss Deby has held talks with his Sudanese counterpart to discuss a rebellion in western Sudan which borders Chad, state radio said.

Deby met Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir in Al-Fashir in Sudan's Darfur province on Saturday, Radio Chad reported later that day, and pledged his support to Bashir in his fight against the insurgents.

"One cannot allow a rebellion to be created along the common border," Deby was quoted as saying.

In February, a group calling itself the Darfur Liberation Front attacked Sudanese government units in the Jabal Mara mountains and asked Bashir's government for the right of self-determination.

Many of those living on either side of the border are members of the Zaghawa tribe, to which Deby belongs, and frequently cross back and forth.

Last month, a Sudanese delegation visited N'djamena to discuss the problem with Chadian authorities.

Bashir was quoted by Radio Chad as saying the rebels were bandits who wanted to create instability along the border.

Deby also met over the weekend with French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie who made stops in Gabon and the Republic of Congo as well to discuss the situation in neighboring Central African Republic. Former CAR army chief of staff Francois Bozize, who had obtained refuge in Chad, lead a successful rebellion last month against former President Ange-Felix Patasse.

Chad has several hundred troops in the CAR as part of a regional peace-keeping operation.

France has stationed about 900 troops in Chad since the mid-1980s as a buffer against Libya, Chad's neighbor to the north.

Deby seized power in December 1990 after launching his own rebellion against President Hissene Habre from Darfur province in 1989.

Darfur is home to a fifth of Sudan's 30 million people and one of the least developed. It is particularly vulnerable to the droughts and famines that periodically afflict Sudan.

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