Chadian junta leader in Qatar after months of peace deal talks

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The head of Chad’s military government met the ruling emir of Qatar on Saturday after months of talks between Chadian forces and rebel factions hosted by the Arab country.

Gen. Mahamat Idris Debi talks with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Footage from the Qatari royal court, or divan, shows Sheikh Tamim with Qatar’s foreign minister, while a delegation from Chad accompanies Debi.

A later statement by the state-run Qatar News Agency quoted Sheikh Tamim as supporting “comprehensive national reconciliation in Chad”, saying ongoing talks between the military and rebels were a first step towards that.

Sheikh Tamim also wished Deby well in the upcoming national dialogue planned in the Chadian capital N’Djamena in August. 20. Negotiations were scheduled for May.

Talks between rebel factions and the military began in March in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Deby’s visit comes as diplomats hope the military government and rebel groups will sign an agreement in Doha before August. 20 conversations.

But it remains unclear whether the Front for Change and Chad’s Concord, the country’s main rebel group, will sign an accord. This shadowy group, known by the French acronym FACT, has been accused the 2021 assassination of longtime Chadian President Idriss Deby Itnowho has ruled the country since 1990.

Mahamat Idriss Deby is the 38-year-old son of the slain president, who heads Chad’s Transitional Military Council.

Other rebel groups involved in the talks in Qatar include the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad, the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development and others. They called on Déby to declare that she would not run in the upcoming elections, although the military junta insisted that this could only be resolved in national dialogue talks.

Chad’s planned 18-month transition period is due to end in the coming months, putting renewed pressure on the parties to reach an agreement. Chad was already disillusioned with Debi’s father’s 30-year rule that led to years of rebel insurgency in the former French colony, which borders Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

In July, Qatar’s satellite news network Al Jazeera reported this over 20 rebel groups withdrew from the Doha talks. They accused the military government of “harassment, intimidation, threats and misinformation” during the talks.

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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