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Qatar to fund Chad-Sudan road, Bashir says

February 7, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Qatar will fund the construction of a road connecting Sudan and landlocked neighbouring Chad, president Omer Al-Bashir announced following a meeting with his Chadian counterpart Idris Deby in Khartoum on Thursday.

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Chad President Idriss Deby walks with Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (R) after arriving at Khartoum Airport February 7, 2013. (Reuters)

Bashir who returned on Thursday from Cairo where he attended a meeting of the Islamic Cooperation Organisation went back to the airport later the same day to receive Deby who arrived from Cairo in a one-day visit on his way back to Ndjamena.

Since 2010 when the two countries sealed security and economic deals ending a five-year proxy war, the two countries said a road and a railway line will be built to enhance the economic exchange between the two countries.

The talks focused on the projects aiming to connect the two countries which are the continental road and a rail way between Sudan and Chad, Bashir said, adding that all the efforts are now centred on the highway.

Bashir pointed out that Sudan is working to complete the construction of the road up to the capital of West Darfur state. From El Geneina the road will link with Adré on the Chadian side of the border and then be paved to Abéché, the regional capital of eastern Chad.

He went further to disclose that Qatar, in its efforts to boost the bilateral relations between the two countries, will fund the building of the road between El-Geneina and Abéché in eastern Chad, reaffirming that Chinese companies are preparing to construct the rail way.

Qatar, which is sponsoring the Darfur peace process, pledged to support economic projects between the two countries in a way to avoid a return of tensions between the two neighbours.

Sudan and Chad set up a joint force patrolling in western Sudan and eastern Chad to prevent rebels from the two sides from carrying out cross-border attacks. Last year the Central African Republic joint the joinr operation, which was extended to its common border with the two countries.

The Sudanese president also reiterated Khartoum’s commitment to allocate economic facilities and dedicate some blocks in Port Sudan for Chad.

He further said that Chad is an oil producer and now exploring oil in the northern part of the country, pointing out that if confirmed this oil would be exported through Port Sudan after the construction of a pipeline.

Chad is exporting its oil and other goods through the port of Kribi in Cameroon, but seeks to reach Asian and Middle East markets via the Red Sea.

President Deby who praised the evolving relationship between the two countries said they discussed economic and politic relations as well as security issues.

Sudan regularly hands Chadian opponents to Ndjamena. Also, the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group said they recently clashed with the Chadian army in Darfur but the Chadian and Sudanese authorities did not comment the statement.

Ndjamena has also encouraged a JEM splinter faction - the JEM Military Council - to join the peace process. The group is currently holding negotiations with the government in Doha.

(ST)