Chad’s upcoming landmark talks offer a “historic opportunity” for the African nation to return to stability and set a course toward democracy after 18 months of military rule, the United Nations chief said Friday.
The national dialogue opening Saturday in N’Djamena gathers 1,400 delegates from the military government, civil society, opposition parties, trade unions and rebel groups in Chad, a country considered key to international efforts to stamp out extremists in the Sahel region.
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The talks are the brainchild of junta chief General Mahamat Idriss Deby, who took power last year after his father, who ruled for 30 years, was killed during military operations against rebels.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered congratulations to Chad’s transitional authorities and the country’s people and acknowledged “the efforts made by all other stakeholders to reach this historic moment.”
“The secretary-general notes that the dialogue offers a historic opportunity to build new foundations for the stability of Chad, through the consolidation of democracy and good governance,” said Guterres deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq.
The UN chief also encouraged the participation of “all segments” of Chadian society, including women and young people, in the dialogue, and urged the political and military groups that have not yet signed the Doha peace agreement to join the peace process.
Those boycotting the forum include two of the biggest rebel groups and a major political alliance.
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