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AU chief expresses concern over Chad-Sudan
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Mar 2, 2009 - 5:29:11 AM

AU chief expresses concern over Chad-Sudan

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) — African Union Commission chief Jean Ping expressed concern Sunday that strained relations between Chad and Sudan could stir up trouble in their restive border region.

Ping announced that the AU would meet shortly to look for ways out of the diplomatic impasse and called on both parties to "refrain from any action likely to hinder efforts aimed at promoting peace and stability" in the region.

Ping "continues to follow the evolution of the situation in Chad and on the border between that country and Sudan," said a statement.

"He is worried by the risk of a deterioration of the situation in the region and the consequences that could have," it said.

The troubled neighbours restored full diplomatic relations in November after a six month hiatus caused by mutual accusations of supporting armed rebels groups operating in and around Sudan's border region of Darfur.

Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with Chad last May, accusing Ndjamena of sponsoring an assault on Khartoum by the Justice and Equality Movement, a Darfuri rebel group.

Chad denied any involvement and in turn accused Sudan of having backed a Chadian rebel push on Ndjamena that reached the gates of the presidential palace before being repulsed.

In January, Chad claimed Sudan had backed the formation of a coalition of insurgent groups, the Union of Resistance Forces, who were preparing military action against the government of Chadian President Idriss Deby

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