May 17, 2009 (PARIS) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy today urged the Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to pursue his efforts to ease the current tension between Sudan and Chad.
French Defense Minister Hervé Morin was in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to deliver a message from President Sarkozy to his Libyan counterpart on a strategic partnership, the official JANA said.
"Sarkozy appealed to the (Libyan leader) to continue his efforts to overcome the tension in Sudan-Chad relations. Also France expressed satisfaction at the prospects for the resumption of negotiations between the government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)," the agency further reported.
In February 2008, Libya and France reportedly cooperated to support Chadian President Idriss Deby in his war against the rebels who were then at the doors of the presidential palace in Ndjamena.
Libya provided Deby with the necessary ammunition for his Russian-made weapons to repel the rebel attack and supplied his army with weapons that JEM used in its May 10 attack against the Sudanese capital.
The Libyan support for President Deby was seen as a sign of Tripoli’s rejection of the Sudanese attempt to support the taking of Ndjamena by the then Goran-led Chadian opposition, which in the eighties had supported US efforts to topple Gadhafi.
However, President Deby since has slammed the recently taken Libyan position at the UN Security Council opposing Chad’s requested to condemn Sudan after the rebel attack on May 4. The Chadian foreign ministry summoned the Libyan ambassador in Ndjamena to protest against the Libyan position.
Also the Chadian President rejected any mediation role for the African Union, which is chaired by the Libyan leader. Deby said he would only accept a United Nations role in resolving his conflict with the Sudanese government.
Reports from Tripoli says Gadhafi, who describes himself proudly as Chairman of the African Union and king of kings of Africa, was angered by the hostile position of the Chadian President against his country.
However it is not clear whether the French request means that Paris wanted to distance itself from Deby’s criticism for Libya and the African Union, or it is just an attempt to keep Tripoli neutral and not too close with Khartoum.
One of six comments on this article...
19 May 2009 by Chadian Observer [excerpt]:
The Sudan-backed Chadian rebels comprise 3000-4000 men in total. They’re the biggest rebel coalition to occur in Chadian history; gor’an, arab, zaghawa and waddaian rebels have all united to form the UFR. This alliance is the most unnatural thing Chadians have seen in decades for the first 3 of these tribes absolutely hate each other. Bashir gave them an ultimatum, either they unite and he arms and trains them in Sudan, or he leaves them to their fate in Chad. They united.
What do they want? The gor’an want to get back into power, Habre, wanted for crimes against humanity (their dictator) lost power to Deby (zaghawa),1990. The Chadian arabs get manipulated in every rebellion. They’re involved in all of them, on both sides, but never really get anything out of it. They can be bought with money and betray each other regularly.
The zaghawa are led by the president’s nephew who failed in his attempted coup d’etat and so fled away and into rebellion. The waddaians are the only ones with legitimacy; they want more development and transparency from Ndjamena.
The Libyans in all of this militarily and financially sustain Abdel Wahid’s SLM.
As for Chad, they’re a military ally and logistically intervened in Ndjamena to counter the Sudan-based rebel invasion of 2008. Quaddhafi likes playing his double game though and so diplomatically claims neutrality.
The French have been close allies of Chad since 1960 and provided some logistical support for the Chadian counter-invasion of Libya in 1987. With continuing strong bilateral ties, they recently provided Chad with logistical information on Chadian rebel bases and positions.
As for the Chadian people, for 5 years now they’ve had major disruption of development as a good deal of the budget now goes into defense for our yearly rebel invasions from abroad.
Our cities have been sacked, over a thousand civilians have been killed by these rebels and life has become overbearingly expensive with the influx of almost half a million Sudanese refugees and the concordant armies of international NGOs to keep these people alive.
The only ’good’ thing for Chad is that Chadian Forces are now stronger than ever as they’ve been transformed with new fighter jets, missiles and a host of other weapons (Chadian oil). This year’s rebel invasion was prematurely crushed by the state’s now modernized Defense Forces.
BBC World Service broadcasts to Juba in Southern Sudan and surrounding areas in Arabic on 90.0 FM and in English on 88.2 FM. In Northern Sudan: Khartoum 91.0 FM, Al Ubayyid 91.0 FM, Port Sudan 91.0 FM and Wad Madani 91.5 FM.
“Violence will bring no victory. For the sake of the Darfur civilians, all parties to the conflict have to stop resorting to violence. This is the absolute priority.” - Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, 05 June 2009
"APPREHENSION" by Rob Rooker. Painted on a wall in Maridi, Sudan. The image is of a young Nuer boy looking up among a crowd of people. Click on image for more details. Cards & prints of Rob's paintings can be purchased online at Imagekind.com