Home | News    Saturday 2 September 2006

US Senator, Chad’s President hold talks on Darfur

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Sept 1, 2006 (N’DJAMENA) — US Senator Barack Obama held talks in Chad with President Idriss Deby Itno on the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region and on Chad’s oil production, on the final stop of the African-American politician’s tour of the continent.

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Idriss deby

Obama told journalists after two hours of talks with the leader of the central African nation that their meeting focussed mainly on the humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Darfur.

Millions of people have been displaced and hundreds of thousands killed in the western Sudan region, where pro-government militias have cracked down brutally on villagers in response to a rebel uprising that started in 2003.

Obama said that he and Deby hoped a United Nations resolution — passed on Thursday but so far rejected by Sudan’s government — to deploy a sturdy peacekeeping force in Darfur, would put an end to the crisis.

The senator said he and Deby also discussed Chad’s oil production, after Deby last weekend expelled the US firm ChevronTexaco and Petronas of Malaysia, two of three foreign oil companies that were tapping the country’s crude.

Deby had cited non-payment of taxes as the reason for the expulsion, which came the week after he ordered the oil consortium’s contract to be renegotiated in a bid to increase Chad’s own share of the revenue.

In his comments after Friday’s meeting, Obama was equivocal on the oil issue.

In spoken comments translated into French, he recognised Chad’s right to benefit from its own oil reserves and said that at the same time the US and the business world wish "agreements to be respected".

Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and American mother and the only black member of the US Senate, was due on Saturday to leave Chad, ending a tour that has taken in South Africa, Djibouti and Kenya, where he visited the home village of his late father.

(AFP/ST)

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