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Saudis mediate to defuse Chad, Sudan tension

RIA Novosti

03/05/2007 18:37 RIYADH, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - The leaders of Chad and Sudan, with mediation by Saudi Arabia, signed a reconciliation deal Thursday after two previous unsuccessful attempts.

The presidents, Omar Bashir of Sudan, in Northeast Africa, and Idriss Deby in neighboring Chad signed a deal to respect one another's territorial and political integrity and cooperate with the African Union and the United Nations in resolving the Darfur and East Chad crises.

Despite a peace deal being signed three months ago, the two nations have again accused one another of attacks and have constantly been on the brink of war. Since October, they have twice failed to resolve tensions during talks, brokered by their northern neighbor Libya.

Saudi Arabia, which is located across the Red Sea, has stepped up efforts in the past in an attempt to pacify the feuding Arabic nations around it. It threw its weight behind this third attempt to mediate a peace deal, following the bombing of two cities in eastern Chad in March, and potential retaliation strikes by Chad.

The latest tension was sparked by attacks in the Chadian border town of Adre, which has repeatedly suffered attacks in past years. Chad accused Sudan of the attacks.

Sudan has been ridden by internal conflicts ever since gaining independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956, which intensified into a massive humanitarian crisis in Darfur, where two opposing ethnic groups have killed and displaced thousands of civilians. The Sudanese government, while failing to intervene, has rejected international calls for a UN peacekeeping force to be sent there. Chadians living across the border have fled violence, adding to the humanitarian disarray.

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