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UN condemns Chad attacks, calls for negotiation

Annan, Security Council condemn Chad attacks, call for negotiation

As fighting that had flared on Chad’s border with Sudan’s Darfur region today exploded in its capital, N'Djamena, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council condemned any attempt to seize power by force as well as attacks on Darfur refugees.

“The Secretary-General is greatly troubled by the worsening security situation in Chad,” Mr. Annan’s spokesman said. “He strongly condemns once again any attempts to seize power by force or other unconstitutional means, and appeals to the protagonists to resolve their political differences through peaceful negotiations.”

Echoing that condemnation, Members of the Security Council also condemned recent attacks by armed groups on camps that house many of the 200,000 Sudanese who have fled the vicious fighting in Darfur over the past three years.

In a press statement read out by the Council President for April, Ambassador Wang Guangya of China, the 15-member body also urged the parties to the Abuja Peace accords, which are meant to end the violence in Darfur, to conclude a peace agreement by 30 April, as called for by the African Union.

In a separate statement released today, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres urgently appealed to all sides of the political upheaval in Chad to respect the civilian character of the refugee camps and to leave in peace those who have already fled the terrors of Darfur.

In recent weeks UNHCR has expressed growing concern as clashes have spread along the Sudan-Chad border. UNHCR runs 12 refugee camps in the east of Chad, where continued fighting was also reported today, though the situation in the camps was said to be calm.

Earlier this week, armed men entered Goz Amer camp, some 95 kilometres from the Sudanese border, during a food distribution to some 17,700 refugees.

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