October 4, 2022

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Chad’s military government and some rebel groups signed a pledge Monday in Qatar ahead of planned national reconciliation talks, although the deal did not include the country’s main opposition.

Under the terms of the Doha deal, the signatories agreed to a ceasefire ahead of August 20 talks planned in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. The Chadian junta also agreed to “not undertake any military or police operations against the signatory groups” in neighboring countries.

However, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad, the main rebel group in the country, did not sign the pledge. The shadowy group, known by its French acronym FACT, is accused of assassinating Chad’s longtime president, Idriss Deby Itno, in 2021.who ruled the country since 1990.

That immediately called into question whether the deal would be enough to ensure the success of the talks as the planned 18-month transition from military rule to democracy ends.

FACT did not immediately publicly comment on its decision not to sign the pledge.

We hope that “other groups will also join the process of reconciliation and peace, with the aim of achieving the aspirations and dreams of the people of Chad,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told those gathered for the signing ceremony. “The initial peace agreement we are celebrating today will be an important turning point towards stability and prosperity for the people of Chad.”

“It is no secret that the negotiations have faced many challenges which have been addressed through your esteemed efforts,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

Those challenges include about 20 rebel groups that walked out of the talks in July, accusing the military government under Deby’s 38-year-old son Mahamat Idriss Deby of “harassment, intimidation, threats and disinformation” amid the negotiations.

The rebels have called on Deby to declare that he will not run in any upcoming elections, although the military junta has insisted that this can only be decided at the national dialogue talks. The pledge signed on Monday in Qatar does not include any ban on Deby taking part in any subsequent vote.

Chad had grown disenchanted with 30 years of rule by Deby’s father, which led to years of rebel insurgencies in the former French colony which borders Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. Unrest in these surrounding countries has led Chadian rebel forces to hide across the border.


Associated Press writer Isabel DeBre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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