December 16th, 2006 10:05 EST
Rebel groups activities in eastern Chad spark concern from Security Council
Voicing grave concern at the increased military activities of armed groups in eastern Chad, the Security Council said today it was particularly alarmed at the threat this posed for both the civilian population and the humanitarian workers trying to alleviate the suffering in the strife-torn region.
The 15-member body issued a presidential statement in which it also reiterated its concern about the deteriorating security situation in the Sudanese region of Darfur, warning that the ongoing conflict there could destabilize neighbouring Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) even further.
Deputy Permanent Representative Jamal Nasser al-Bader of Qatar, which holds this month`s Council presidency, said its members called on both Sudan and Chad to abide by all agreements to respect and secure their common border and to cooperate on making it as stable as possible.
Warning that Chad is home to a large number of refugees " the UN estimates there are more than 265,000 people from either Darfur or the CAR living there " Mr. al-Bader said the country`s authorities and local communities were already facing a heavy burden.
The increased military activities by armed groups therefore jeopardized the humanitarian lifeline offered by UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups.
The statement said Council members condemned the recent offensive carried out by armed groups around the eastern Chadian town of Biltine and in the Ouaddei area, adding that any attempt to seize power by force is unacceptable. "
Council members backed an earlier statement by the African Union (AU) that the attacks were blatant violations of the AU`s founding principles, which recognize the territorial integrity and unity of member States.
Mr. al-Bader stressed the importance of an open political dialogue based on constitutional provisions to foster national reconciliation and durable peace in the country. "
Turning to Darfur, he said a peaceful settlement in that region " where more than 200,000 civilians have been killed and 2 million others displaced from their homes amid often brutal fighting between Government forces, allied militias and rebel groups since 2003 " would have a positive flow-on effect to Chad and the CAR.
The statement added that any deal should follow the principles of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), signed in May by the Government and only some of the rebel groups.