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Chad - Foreign Relations

Chad lacked established channels for foreign policy debate in the 1980s. Few people were accustomed to formulating or expressing foreign policy concerns beyond the desire for peace and an end to foreign intervention. As a result, Chad's foreign policy reflected its colonial past, economic and military needs, and the quest for national sovereignty.

Relations with Sudan are complex. Frequent agreements not to support rebels in each others’ countries have not held. The result is ongoing rebel activity on both sides of the border. Around 250,000 refugees from Darfur and a further 185,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) are now present in Chad, according to UNHCR. It is widely believed that Deby was under pressure from his own Zagahwa ethnic group to support the largely Zagahwa rebellion in Darfur.

Chad has generally looked to France as its main ally in international affairs. France maintains a military base near N'djamena, which hosts the "Epervier" operation established in 1986 to attempt to control northern Chad and counter Libyan incursions. While relations were strained at times in the 1990s, France and the Chadian government now maintain close links. Chad is a member of the Franc Zone and a founding member of the French backed regional body CEMAC. In 2003 and 2004 the Chadian army participated in American led operations against insurgents from Algeria who had entered Chad from Niger, as part of the "Pan-Sahel Initiative".

France maintained a battalion of more than 1,000 troops in its former colony and supported the government through training, administration and intelligence. France had a vision of multilateral intervention but it was the only European county that had a military presence. There was no one else to take the lead. France maintained a contingent of troops in its former colony since independence in 1960, and provided intelligence information to the Chadian government. Chad no longer received military hardware from France, but French troops were stationed in the country and Chadian officers continue to be trained by France. France had supported Deby but also supported the president he toppled.

On 28 January 2008, the European Union authorised a military force named EUFOR to deploy to eastern Chad. EUFOR was designed to contribute to the protection of civilians in danger, facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid and provide protection for the accompanying United Nations police-training mission. On 15 March 2009, EUFOR handed over to an integrated UN mission named MINURCAT, which held similar objectives.

Chad is a committed partner of the United States in the fight against terrorism, and in 2015 it hosted the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force. The government reacted aggressively to security concerns posed by Boko Haram by instituting civilian security measures. Poor border security, limited law enforcement, and an influx of weapons from neighboring countries are ongoing concerns. An anti-terrorism law was adopted in July 2015, following attacks in the capital.

Until April 2014, Chad played a major role in the political and military level. Chairman of ECCAS, President Déby hosted in Ndjamena several summits on the crisis in CAR and deployed one of the largest contingents of the African force MISCA. However, considering himself questioned at random victim of a smear campaign, Chad announced April 4 its withdrawal of troops (including those of the tripartite strength Sudan Chad-CAR, deployed northeast the country), then, on 12 May, the closure of its border with the CAR. Despite this attitude of withdrawal, President Déby however intends to retain influence over the Central African political landscape, given the RCA involved in security interests for Chad. Chad is also concerned about the situation of returnees and refugees from CAR, and is seeking financial support from the international community France supports the medical and nutritional assistance projects Doyaba camp (southern Chad). For its part, the European Union was also involved in the improvement of reception conditions of returnees / refugees (3 M € for humanitarian aid in 2015).

The Islamist sect Boko Haram is an acute security threat to the northeast of Nigeria and beyond, south of the Lake Chad Basin (border areas between Nigeria and Niger, Cameroon, Chad). Faced with this threat, President Déby was particularly active. He has contributed to the success of the Paris Summit of 17 May 2014. In January 2015, before the alarming expansion of the sect in northern Cameroon and Niger, Chadian forces were deployed in both countries, with the agreement of the governments concerned. Before its withdrawal at year end 2015, the Chadian army has achieved, despite significant losses, unquestionable success against the terrorist group.

It is in this context that in June and July 2015, three attacks, the first in the history of the country, attributed to Boko Haram, hit buildings and public places in N'Djamena, killing dozens of people and injuring more than a hundred others. Since then, other attacks have hit towns along Lake Chad, causing losses among populations and Chadian armed forces. The fight against the terrorist group operated as part of a joint multinational force which should eventually comprise nearly 11 000 men from the countries of the region. Under the command of a Nigerian general, the General Staff is located in Ndjamena.

Chadian soldiers of the Sahelo-Saharan medium were requested at the beginning of 2013, by Mali for a military intervention in the north (2000 men engaged). The operations of the Chadian army (FATIM), conducted in the Adrar des Ifoghas alongside French forces led Chad to pay a heavy price. The Chad continues its military involvement in Mali as part of MINUSMA. December 15, 2015, Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, a Chadian national, was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Mali and Chief MINUSMA.

The Libyan crisis meant the return of thousands of Chadians (100 000 in 2011 to nearly 300,000 residents), who fled the abuses targeting the sub-Saharan, especially in the area controlled by insurgents who accused them of supporting the Gaddafi regime. Chadian authorities now fear that the South Libyan become an area of lawlessness, could become a haven for terrorists Sahelian armed groups.

Libya and Chad have a series of sporadic clashes between the late 1970s and the late 1980s, with Libya on one side, and France, the US and Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the other all vying for control of the central African country. Between 1986 and 1987, the two countries fought the so-called Toyota War, which resulted in Libyan forces getting expelled from Chad. Libya was then forced to cede the Aouzou Strip, a 114,000 square km strip of land rich in mineral wealth. In 1994, Libya completed its withdrawal from the area, and relations were normalized.

On 05 January 2017, the government of Chad announced a military operation along its border with Libya amid threats that Islamist militants from the Libyan city of Sirte may attempt to flee into the central African country, Reuters reports. Confirming that the border between Chad and Libya has become "a zone of military operation," Chadian Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke said that "some isolated…groups have converged toward the south of Libya, that is to say on the northern border of our country, which is potentially exposed to a serious threat of…infiltration."

Resident diplomatic missions in N'Djamena include the embassies of Algeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, France, Germany, Nigeria, Russia, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, the United States, the European Union, and the African Union. Switzerland maintains an aid mission. Turkey, Belgium, Togo, Senegal, Niger, South Korea, India, Italy, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Canada, and Benin have honorary consuls. Chad is a principal and active member of the African Union and the United Nations, as well as of the principal regional organizations, including the Sahelo-Saharian Organization (SEN-SAD), the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC), and the Economic and Monetary Union of Central African (CEMAC). Chad has been an active champion of regional sectoral cooperation through the Lake Chad and Niger River Basin Commissions and the Interstate Commission for the Fight Against the Drought in the Sahel (CILS). In addition to these organizations, Chad belongs to the Francophone Community (OIF); African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States; African Development Bank; Central African States Development Bank, Central African Economic Commission for Livestock, Meat and Fishery Resources (CEBEVIRHA); Central African States Bank (BEAC); Economic Commission for Africa; G-77; Inter-African Conference for Insurance Markets; International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); International Civil Aviation Organization; International Confederation of Free Trade Unions; International Criminal Court; International Development Association; International Finance Corporation; International Fund for Agricultural Development; International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; International Labor Organization; International Monetary Fund; Interpol; International Olympic Committee; International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; International Telecommunication Union; Non-Aligned Movement (NAM); Islamic Development Bank; Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA); Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; Universal Postal Union; World Bank; World Confederation of Labor; World Health Organization; World Intellectual Property Organization; World Meteorological Organization; World Tourism Organization; World Trade Organization. Rebel forces in Chad were traditionally divided into two major groups: I Army in the north and II army in the east. In 1978 there were rumors of the formation of a III Army in the west. The nucleus of this army was to be a band of about 30 rebels which had been operating out of Nigeria. This band was to have been reinforced by 400 men, trained in Libya and transported to western Chad by truck through Chad and Niger. These reinforcements never arrived and about half of the original band soon rallied to the government. The remaining handful, reportedly operating under the direction of Aboubakar Mohamat Abderaman, carried out no known military operations, but apparently engineered the kidnaping of Christian Masse and Andre-Pierre Kummerling.

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Page last modified: 31-01-2020 19:17:19 ZULU