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Chadian president snubs UN delegation

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June 7, 2008 (NDJAMENA) — Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno refused to meet a visiting UN Security Council delegation, a diplomatic source in the delegation told AFP on Saturday, denouncing Deby’s move as risky.

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Idriss Deby

Officially the president was out of the country when the delegation arrived, although his whereabouts were not specified.

But diplomatic sources said he had in fact returned from a unannounced trip to Libya late Friday and felt "too tired" to meet with the delegation, which is on a regional tour.

"It is the first time a president has not received the delegation," the source said. "In doing that, in the situation in which he (Deby) finds himself, he is taking risks."

The delegation — with representatives from the 15 nations on the United Nations body — was received, however, by Prime Minister Youssouf Saleh Abbas.

The delegation, which arrived in Chad on Friday, went to the east of the country, bordering the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur, to meet soldiers in EUFOR, the European force being deployed in Chad and the Central African Republic, and visit refugee camps.

Deby was nearly toppled in early February by an assault on the capital launched by rebels from rear bases in Sudan.

Many residents fled to neighbouring Cameroon and Nigeria in the fierce fighting and human rights organisations denounced abuses in the subsequent state of emergency.

But Abbas’ installation at the head of an "open-door" government at the end of April, which included members of the main opposition coalition, was hailed as a positive development by observers and diplomats.

(AFP)

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