Ban, Security Council voice deep concern at renewed fighting in eastern Chad

Ban, Security Council voice deep concern at renewed fighting in eastern Chad

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council today condemned the series of attacks by armed rebels in eastern Chad over the past week, warning that the renewed fighting between Government forces and the Chadian Armed Opposition Group will only worsen an already grave humanitarian situation.

Mr. Ban has called on all parties to immediately stop their hostilities, abide by previous peace accords and turn to dialogue to achieve a negotiated settlement of the crisis, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General condemns all attempts to destabilize the country and is concerned about the risk of a deterioration of the already grave humanitarian situation, especially in eastern Chad, where the international community is actively engaged in providing relief and securing the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons,” Mr. Ban said.

In a statement read out by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad of the United States, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, the 15-member body also deplored the attacks and reiterated “its commitment to the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and political independence of Chad.”

The presidential statement added that the Council “conveys deep concern at the direct threat the activity of armed groups pose for the safety of the civilian population and the conduct of humanitarian operations, and urges all parties to comply fully with their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

Last year the Security Council authorized the deployment of a multidimensional UN presence – known as MINURCAT – in eastern Chad and the northeast of the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR), which have both been beset by fighting, armed banditry and massive civilian displacement in recent years.

The situation has been made more complicated by the conflict across the border in the Darfur region of Sudan, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of refugees into camps and makeshift settlements in eastern Chad.