Sudan to lead joint force

2010-02-05 21:29

Khartoum - Sudan will be the first to lead a joint Chadian-Sudanese border force, delegates told AFP on Friday following talks in Khartoum.

"The two parties have agreed that for the first six months, the Sudanese side will lead the joint force," according to a document signed by Chadian secretary of state for defence Mahamat Beshir Okoromi and General Mohammed Atta al-Moula, Sudan's head of intelligence.

"The general staff of the joint force, which will be led by a Sudanese and deputised by a Chadian for the first six months, will have its headquarters in El-Geneina," capital of West Darfur, some 20km from the Chad border, a Chadian official told AFP.

"On February 18, the commanders of the joint force of the two countries will meet in El-Geneina" to "get acquainted with observation posts and determine the practicalities of the deployment of the force until February 25", the document said.

An agreement was signed last month to normalise relations between both countries.

Under the deal, a joint force will be deployed on their border, which effectively means that Chad would have to stop supporting Darfur rebels and Sudan would cease backing Chadian rebels.

A meeting is scheduled between legal teams from both countries on February 8 in Ndjamena to carve out the joint force's rules of engagement.