By NDI EUGENE NDI
Chad’s transitional junta government has signed a peace agreement with opposition rebel groups on Monday in Doha, paving the way for national reconciliation talks later this month.
The agreement, announced by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, follows months of negotiations in the Qatari capital. Details of the agreement have yet to be disclosed.
The signing of the Doha Peace Agreement comes ahead of peace talks to be held in the Chadian capital Ndjamena on August 20.
“Qatar hopes that this agreement will pave the way for the launching of the “Comprehensive and Sovereign National Dialogue in Chad” in Ndjamena, aimed at achieving comprehensive national reconciliation and for the Chadian people to enjoy peace and development,” Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said on its official Twitter account.
Participants in the Qatari-based talks included representatives from the interim military government, opposition parties and more than 30 rebel groups. The talks began last March. The signing ceremony in Doha was also attended by the chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, a Chadian diplomat.
However, nine rebel groups, including the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), a Libya-based rebel group that threatened to march on the capital last year, did not sign the accord.
FACT, the largest rebel group, had said earlier the talks failed to adequately consider its demands, which included the release of prisoners captured during the fighting. The group said it remained open to further discussion.
A source familiar with the agreement said those who had signed had agreed to a permanent ceasefire and to work towards civilian disarmament.
Chad’s interim military government had also committed to not launching military or police operations in neighbouring countries against groups who had signed up to the deal, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The interim military government is headed by Mahamat Idriss Deby, who last year seized power following the death of his father, responsibility for which was claimed by FACT.
Deby declared himself head of a Transitional Military Council in April 2021 after his father, longtime ruler Idriss Deby, was killed while visiting troops fighting the rebel insurgency in the north.
Initially, his council said it would oversee an 18-month transition to democratic rule, but it has shown little sign of organising elections as that deadline has neared.
– Additional reporting by Reuters