Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AFP) – Chad’s military government and some rebel groups signed a pledge Monday in Qatar ahead of planned national reconciliation talks, although the agreement does not include the country’s main opposition group.
Under the terms of the agreement in Doha, those who signed the ceasefire agreed before the August 20 talks to be held in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena. The Chadian military council also agreed “not to conduct any military or police operations against the signatory groups” in neighboring countries.
However, the Front for Change and Accord in Chad, the main rebel group in the country, did not sign the pledge. The mysterious group, known by its French acronym FACT, is blamed for the 2021 murder of Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno.who has ruled the country since 1990.
That immediately raised questions about whether the deal would be enough to ensure the success of talks with the end of the planned 18-month transition from military rule to democracy.
FACT did not immediately comment publicly on its decision not to sign the pledge.
We hope that “other groups will join the path of reconciliation and peace to achieve the aspirations and dreams of the Chadian people,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told those present at the signing ceremony. “The initial peace agreement that we celebrate today will be an important turning point towards stability and prosperity for the Chadian people.”
Sheikh Mohammed added: “It is no secret to anyone that the negotiations faced many challenges that were addressed through your appreciated efforts.”
These include the withdrawal of about 20 rebel groups from the talks in July, accusing the military government headed by Déby’s 38-year-old son, Mohamed Idriss Deby, of “harassment, intimidation, threats and disinformation” amid the negotiations.
The rebels called for Deby to announce that he would not run in any upcoming elections, although the junta insisted that this could only be determined in the National Dialogue talks. The pledge signed Monday in Qatar does not include any prohibition on Deby’s candidacy in any upcoming vote.
Chad was frustrated by Déby’s father’s 30 years of rule, which led to years of rebel uprisings in the former French colony that borders Cameroon, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. The turmoil in those neighboring countries has seen Chadian rebels hide across the border.
Associated Press writer Isabel Depree in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.