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Libya says Sudan and Chad soon to normalize ties

October 17, 2008 (KHARTOUM) – The Libyan deputy foreign Minister for African affairs, Ali Abdel-Salam Al-Tereyki said that Sudan and Chad will soon exchange ambassadors in a step towards normalizing ties.

Al-Tereyki told reporters that a tripartite summit with be held along with Sudan and Chad to discuss the relations between the two countries. It is scheduled for late October.

The meeting will include Sudanese presidential adviser Mustafa Ismail and Chadian foreign minister to follow up on developments related to normalizing ties.

The Libyan official also denied reports that Chad refused to restore ties with Sudan. However he acknowledged that there are “technical difficulties” slowing down progress.

He said the upcoming meeting would specifically address “measures to exchange diplomatic missions between the two countries”.

Relations between Chad and Sudan have long been difficult, with each country denying the other’s accusations that they are supporting rebel movements fighting against their respective regimes.

Khartoum accused Chad of backing the Darfur rebel attack on the capital last May and broke off its relations with its Western neighbor.

Tensions worsened in 2003 when war broke out in Sudan’s western province of Darfur, causing hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee across the Chadian border and sparking UN fears of a regional conflict.

Sudan then broke off diplomatic relations with Chad in May after Darfur rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) launched an attack near the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Several attempts by African leaders to mediate between the two countries have failed so far amid deep mistrust on both ends.

Last week the African Union announced it is sending a peace mission to Chad to try to ease tensions between Chad and Sudan.