MINURCAT a failure - Deby

2010-02-10 09:39
Khartoum - Chad's president Idriss Deby said on Tuesday his country does not wish to renew the mandate of a UN peacekeeping force operating in his country along the border with Sudan because it has failed to improve conditions.

Deby made the announcement before he left Khartoum, capital of neighboring Sudan, where he sought to try to smooth relations soured for years by the ongoing Darfur conflict along the border.

The 5 200-strong UN peacekeeping force in Chad and the Central African Republic, known as MINURCAT, was deployed last year to protect civilians and improving aid delivery to refugees along the Sudan-Chad border.

The force's mandate comes up for renewal next month.

"The mission of MINURCAT is a failure. That is why we don't see the need to extend" the mandate, Deby told reporters at Khartoum airport at the end of his two-day visit to Sudan.

Deby said the mission was unable to boost its personnel on the ground, and has failed to provide any projects to the refugee population.

"It has not dug a single well," he said.

The mission is "not operational. And it won't be even if we give it another year."

Assessment team


In New York, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said it is "regrettable" that the government of Chad has requested the withdrawal of the force.

"The United Nations force is most definitely not a failure and as of today, the force is at 70% of its authorised strength and is highly visible and is actively establishing its presence," he told reporters.

The force was also responsible for training Chadian police. He said an assessment team was sent to talk to the government and would report back to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Chadian government has indicated since January that it didn't want the UN force to renew its mandate, but Deby's Tuesday announcement was the most explicit to date of Chad's wish to see the force go.

Eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic have been seriously affected by fighting across the border in Sudan's Darfur region where up to 300 000 people have been killed, and 2.7 million driven from their homes since 2003.

It was Chad that initially asked for a European Union force to come in to help with the humanitarian situation. That force was replaced by the UN.

- AP
Read more on:    idriss deby  |  chad  |  central africa
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