Sudan, Chad sign peace deal

DAKAR, Senegal – The presidents of Sudan and Chad signed a peace agreement Thursday to suppress attacks by armed groups operating along their shared border, a move toward stability in Chad and the battered Darfur region of Sudan.

The pact, signed by Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Chad’s Idriss Deby, is meant to end cross-border attacks in the Darfur frontier region and comes even as Chad accused Sudan of backing a new rebel advance into its territory. Sudan denied the charges.

“We hope that this accord will open a new page in the relations between the two countries,” al-Bashir said after the signing in Senegal’s capital, Dakar.

If successful, it would also represent a step toward ending violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, where a five-year conflict has left more than 200,000 dead and uprooted 2.5 million from their homes.

The deal commits the two nations to implementing past accords that have so far failed to end violence in the area. It calls for foreign ministers of each country to meet monthly to be sure there are no violations.

Deby said this deal is different from the others because it puts concrete implementation to earlier promises and was witnessed by a host of high-level international diplomats and fellow African heads of state.

“This one is the best,” Deby said of the deal. “The guarantee is the belief in peace. The peace needs to be a peace in our hearts.”

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