US welcomes Sudan, Chad bid

December 30, 2009 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, Dec 30 – The United States on Tuesday welcomed efforts by Sudan and Chad to normalize ties, underlining how such moves would also help bring peace to Sudan\\\’s conflict-torn western Darfur region.

In Khartoum, Sudan and Chad agreed at high-level talks last week to meet again to take steps to stop cross-border rebel attacks from each side, Sudanese presidential adviser Ghaze Salaheddin told official media on Friday.

Chad has accused Sudan of supporting rebels seeking to oust the government, while Khartoum has charged Ndjamena with backing ethnic minority rebels in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

The US State Department said "the United States welcomes the continued engagement between Chad and Sudan to normalize relations as discussed during meetings last week with Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki" and Salaheddin.

"The United States is encouraged by the decision of these two neighboring countries to implement their 2006 bilateral security protocol," according to the statement by State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

"We urge the parties to fulfill their commitments and set up an appropriate and effective border monitoring mechanism on their shared border as soon as possible," he added.

Washington urged both Chad and Sudan to move toward "rapid implementation" of the protocol, adding that bilateral talks scheduled for January 7 in Chad\\\’s capital of Ndjamena "is a positive step" toward implementation.

"Full normalization of relations, including the ending of support for armed rebel groups on both sides, if fully implemented, remains a key element in advancing the Darfur Peace Process," Kelly said.

Washington backs efforts by Chad and Sudan to improve their relations "as an important step" in the peace process for Darfur, he said.

Improved ties between the two countries could help bring peace to Sudan\\\’s war-torn Darfur region, where about 300,000 people have died since ethnic rebels revolted in 2003. Sudan has accused Chad of supporting the rebels.


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