Security Council Condemns Renewed Military Incursions in Eastern Chad by Chadian Armed Groups, Stresses Any Attempt at Destabilization by Force ‘Unacceptable’

8 May 2009
SC/9654

Security Council Condemns Renewed Military Incursions in Eastern Chad by Chadian Armed Groups, Stresses Any Attempt at Destabilization by Force ‘Unacceptable’

8 May 2009
Security Council
SC/9654
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6121st & 6122nd Meetings (AM & PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS RENEWED MILITARY INCURSIONS IN EASTERN CHAD BY CHADIAN

 

ARMED GROUPS, STRESSES ANY ATTEMPT AT DESTABILIZATION BY FORCE ‘UNACCEPTABLE’

Presidential Statement Calls on Sudan, Chad to Fully Implement Mutual Commitments;

Council Also Briefed by Peacekeeping Department, Hears from Chad, Sudan Ambassadors

The Security Council today condemned the renewed military incursions in eastern Chad of Chadian armed groups, coming from outside, and demanded that rebel armed groups cease the violence immediately.

In a statement read by President Vitaly Churkin ( Russian Federation), the Council stressed that any attempt at destabilization of Chad by force was unacceptable, and called on all parties to re-engage in dialogue in the framework of the Sirte agreement of 25 October 2007.

The Council called on Sudan and Chad to respect and fully implement their mutual commitments, in particular the Doha agreement of 3 May 2009 and the Dakar agreement of 13 March 2008, and to engage constructively with the Dakar contact group and the good offices of Libya and Qatar to normalize their relations, cooperate to put an end to cross-border activities of armed groups and strengthen actions to combat illicit arms trafficking in the region.  It expressed its concern at the external support received by Chadian armed groups, as reported by the Secretary-General.

Expressing deep concern at the direct threat the activity of armed groups posed for the safety of the civilian population and the conduct of humanitarian operations, the Council called on all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular to respect the security of civilians, humanitarian workers and United Nations personnel.

In a briefing to the Council during an earlier meeting today, Dmitri Titov, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said that, on 26 April, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), had received unconfirmed reports of skirmishes between Chadian security forces and small groups of rebels of the Union des forces de la Résistance (UFR) in eastern Chad.  MINURCAT had been able to confirm that air strikes were being carried out since 5 May and that heavy engagement on 7 May had resulted in considerable losses among the rebels.  The confrontation had seriously compromised the ability of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and their non-governmental organization partners to deliver humanitarian assistance.

He said that, on 3 May, in Doha, under the auspices of Qatar and Libya, the Governments of Chad and Sudan had signed a new agreement to normalize relations and deny any support on their respective territories to rebel groups.  Only two days later, however, on 5 May, the Government of Chad had accused the Government of Sudan of sending armed elements into eastern Chad.  A spokesman of the Government of Sudan had denied that accusation.

As of today, the MINURCAT force, which stood at 46 per cent of its authorized strength, lacked 14 of the required 18 military utility and reconnaissance helicopters, he said.  As a result, it lacked the ability to observe and track incidents as they developed, as well as a force reserve with rapid mobility to reinforce sites, or react to changing circumstances.  He, therefore, urged the Council to join the Secretary-General in his appeal to potential troop contributors to provide MINURCAT with the required helicopter assets.

Following that briefing, the representative of Chad said that, as far as the agreement signed in Doha was concerned, peace agreements had been signed in the past, but that soon after the agreements were signed, Chad was attacked by Sudan’s forces.  Sudanese and Chadian fighters recruited by Sudan were working to overthrow the legitimate Government of Chad.  Khartoum had provided those fighters with food, military vehicles, arms and military training camps in Darfur.  In view of what was happening in eastern Chad, efforts by Chad to consolidate the rule of law and democracy, which were necessary for peace and stability, were being thwarted by the strategies of armed mercenaries in the country.

On 5 May, the Government of Chad recalled that it had welcomed the signing of the Doha agreement to normalize relations with Sudan, he said.  But the Khartoum regime had not changed its intentions or strategy.  It had sent several armed battalions, with 350 vehicles, to attack Chad.  Those armed battalions had been defeated, but the same thing might happen again.  The new situation that seriously threatened peace and security deserved the Council’s urgent attention, so that it could take appropriate steps to end the aggression against Chad.  The Council must not tolerate that thousands of men were being given hundreds of vehicles to attack Chad, and openly condemn Sudan.

The representative of Sudan, however, said that what was happening in Chad was an internal affair, with which Sudan had nothing to do.  Chad had made it a habit to cover its criminal activities in Sudan by bringing complaints to the Council, whenever it planned an act against his country.  The current accusation was yet another operation to cover up an intensive aggression that would be conducted by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) from Chadian territory.  JEM had resumed its military activities in several places, relying on logistical support from the Chad Government, including vehicles.  JEM was also recruiting people, including children, in refugee camps in Chad.

He said that peace and stability in Chad was linked with stability in Sudan, and his country had invested in numerous efforts over a span of two decades, long before the problems in Darfur had arisen, to mediate.  Sudan was facing enough challenges and did not gain anything from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, including of Chad.  If the Council wanted to help Chad, it must advise that country first to seek reconciliation with all its people and not to ignore regional mechanisms that tried to establish peace in the region.  It was strange, in that regard, that Chad had rushed to the Council, at the same time that the African Union’s Peace and Security Council was considering the issue.

The first meeting started at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 10:55 a.m.  The second meeting started at 5 p.m. and adjourned at 5:05 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2009/13 reads as follows:

“The Security Council condemns the renewed military incursions in eastern Chad of Chadian armed groups, coming from outside.

“The Security Council stresses that any attempt at destabilization of Chad by force is unacceptable.  It recalls the terms of the declarations of its President dated of 4 February 2008 (S/PRST/2008/3) and 16 June 2008 (S/PRST/2008/22).  It reiterates its commitment to the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and political independence of Chad.  It demands that rebel armed groups cease violence immediately, and calls on all parties to re-engage in dialogue in the framework of the Sirte agreement of 25 October 2007.

“The Security Council calls on Sudan and Chad to respect and fully implement their mutual commitments, in particular in the Doha Agreement of 3 May 2009 and the Dakar Agreement of 13 March 2008, and to engage constructively with the Dakar contact group and the good offices of Libya and Qatar, to normalize their relations, cooperate to put an end to cross-border activities of armed groups and strengthen actions to combat illicit arms trafficking in the region, including through the establishment of an effective joint border monitoring.  The Council expresses its concern at the external support received by Chadian armed groups, as reported by the Secretary-General.

“The Security Council expresses deep concern at the direct threat the activity of armed groups poses for the safety of the civilian population and the conduct of humanitarian operations.  It reiterates its full support for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which is mandated to contribute to protect vulnerable civilians, including refugees and internally displaced persons, to protect United Nations and associated personnel and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“The Security Council calls on all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular to respect the security of civilians, including women and children, humanitarian workers and United Nations personnel.

“The Security Council encourages the Chadian authorities in promoting political dialogue, with respect for the constitutional framework, as initiated in the Agreement of 13 August 2007.”

Background

The Security Council met this morning at the request of the Permanent Mission of Chad to the United Nations (document S/2009/232) to discuss the situation in eastern Chad.  According to Chad’s request, attacks had been “perpetrated” by the Government of Sudan against Chad, which threatened peace and security in the subregion and in Chad itself.

Briefing by Department of Peacekeeping Operations

DMITRY TITOV, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said that, on 24 April, the Council’s attention had been drawn to a significant build-up of the Chadian national armed forces in eastern Chad and to a parallel build-up of Chadian armed opposition groups across the border in West Darfur in the area of El Geneina.

He said the Secretariat had undertaken to accelerate the troop deployments to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT).  The Mission’s mandate provided for the protection of civilians in danger, facilitation of the delivery of humanitarian aid and the movement of humanitarian personnel, as well as the protection of United Nations personnel and facilities.  On 26 April, unconfirmed reports had been received of minor skirmishes between Chadian security forces and small groups of rebels of the Union des forces de la Resistance (UFR) in eastern Chad.  On 1 and 2 May, unconfirmed reports had been received of air strikes by the Chadian National Army on rebel positions near the border with Sudan.  On 5 May, MINURCAT had been able to confirm that air strikes were being carried out.

He said reports indicated the existence of three main rebel columns:  two had moved into eastern Chad, while the third remained across the border.  Each column was believed to number between 50 and 100 vehicles.  Air strikes had continued on 6 and 7 May, which had resulted in heavy rebel losses.

On 7 May, reports had been received of heavy ground engagement between the Chadian Army and UFR rebels in the vicinity of Am Dam.  Meanwhile, the second rebel column was reported to have moved southward to the area of Tissi, near the border with the Central African Republic, and had since moved westward towards Am Timan.  No confirmation had been received that that column had engaged in fighting.

The deteriorating security situation in eastern Chad had prompted humanitarian actors, including three United Nations agencies and 11 non-governmental organizations, to relocate their non-essential staff on 6 May from Koukou Angarana to Goz Beida, with assistance from MINURCAT.  Also on 6 May, the United Nations had suspended all its activities in the Salamat and Guéra regions.  As of yet, no significant population displacements had been reported.  The confrontation, however, had seriously compromised the ability of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and their non-governmental organization partners to deliver humanitarian assistance.

He said that on 3 May, in Doha, under the auspices of Qatar and Libya, the Governments of Chad and Sudan had signed a new agreement to normalize relations and deny any support on their respective territories to rebel groups.  Only two days later, however, on 5 May, the Government of Chad had accused the Government of Sudan of sending armed elements into eastern Chad.  A spokesman of the Government of Sudan had denied that accusation.  It was essential that both Governments act upon the Doha agreement and past commitments to prevent further rebel incursions and that armed opposition groups on both sides of the border realize that efforts to seize power through force were unacceptable.  The current presence of a representative of the Justice and Equity Movement (JEM) in Doha for meetings with representatives of the Government of Sudan was an encouraging development.

As the rainy season was beginning, it was critically important that the humanitarian community be able to preposition essential humanitarian supplies and materials, he said.  Should the current situation worsen, it could potentially jeopardize that important work.

As of today, the MINURCAT force stood at 2,396 personnel, 46 per cent of its authorized strength.  The force lacked 14 of the 18 military utility and reconnaissance helicopters called for in the Concept of Operations.  As a result, the military force lacked the ability to observe and track incidents as they developed, as well as a force reserve with rapid mobility to reinforce sites, or react to changing circumstances.  He, therefore, urged the Council to join the Secretary-General in his appeal to potential troop contributors to provide MINURCAT with the required helicopter assets.

Statements

AHMAD ALLAM-MI ( Chad) said he had just arrived from Doha, where he had been naïve enough to hope that the regime in Khartoum would end its attacks on Chad and its attempt to subvert Chad’s efforts to consolidate democracy and the rule of law.  He had been hopeful that there would be an end to Khartoum’s attempts to reverse Chad’s legitimate institutions and install in N’Djamena a power that was loyal to Khartoum Khartoum was hoping to benefit from the complicity of such a power, so that it could continue with impunity its crimes against humanity in Darfur.  Since the press conference following the signing of the agreement, he had begun to wonder about Khartoum’s willingness to act in good faith.  The Sudanese minister wanted to make people believe that combatants of JEM would be based in Chad, giving as an example the presence in N’Djamena of JEM’s President, Khalil Ibrahim.

However, with Sudan’s agreement, a meeting had been facilitated between Dr. Khalil and the emissary of a big country, he said.  That emissary was using his good offices to resume talks between Sudanese factions and to achieve a ceasefire and a political settlement to Darfur.  He asked if Chad had committed a crime for playing a go-between role in that situation.  Khartoum’s attitude was not surprising, if one looked at the past.  Peace agreements had been signed in the past, and many communiqués published in the context of the peace agreements.  But, soon after the agreements were signed, Chad had been attacked by Sudan’s forces.  If, despite all those agreements, the situation continued to worsen, then that was indicative of a true lack of good faith on the part of someone.  It had been said that both countries were at fault.  But, Chad was the real victim.  It had done nothing but work for peace in Darfur.  Khartoum had unjustly accused Chad of mounting an offensive in Darfur.

Sudanese and Chadian fighters recruited by Sudan were working to overthrow the legitimate Government of Chad, he said.  Khartoum had provided those fighters with food, military vehicles, arms and military training camps in Darfur.  The Khartoum regime had applauded the desertion of some elements of the Chadian National Army in October 2005.  Chadian National Army defectors were recruited by Khartoum and placed at the head of the Khartoum war machine.  Those subversive forces had begun attacking Chad on 26 September 2005, with an attack on Moudeina.  In view of what was happening in eastern Chad, efforts by Chad to consolidate the rule of law and democracy, which were necessary for peace and stability, were being thwarted by the strategies of armed mercenaries in the country.

He reminded the Council that he had previously told it that peace in Chad depended on democracy and, for that to happen, the provisions of the 13 August 2007 agreement must be implemented.  The so-called “armed opposition” must renounce the use of force and respect the Sirte agreement of 25 October 2007, instead of pretending that the Sirte agreement had expired.  Chad expected the opposition to play a role in consolidating democracy, but it should not expect too much, because the opposition was not free to choose its own path due to the Machiavellian designs of its commander.  Despite the Doha agreement, that commander had ordered them to enter Chad.

On 5 May, the Government of Chad recalled that it had welcomed the signing of the Doha agreement to normalize relations with Sudan, he said.  As many had described it, the agreement was the umpteenth accord.  Chad’s Government had emphasized that it hoped that this time there would be a return to peace.  But, the Khartoum regime had not changed its intentions or strategy.  It had acted with the same deviousness as in the past.  It had sent several armed battalions with 350 vehicles to attack Chad.  Those armed battalions had been defeated, but the same thing might happen again.  By unleashing that aggression, the Sudanese regime had just denounced its own signature in Doha.

He called on the Council to act as a witness to the bad faith of the Government in Khartoum.   Every Council member knew that the phantom force created, armed, equipped and led by Sudanese soldiers and supported by Janjaweed militias had not stopped its aggression against Chad.  The Secretary-General’s latest report had signalled the presence of that force in the El Geneina region.  The new situation that seriously threatened peace and security deserved the Council’s urgent attention, so that it could take appropriate steps to end the aggression against Chad.  Chad needed to protect the security of its people.  The Council must not tolerate that thousands of men were being given hundreds of vehicles to attack Chad.  The Council must openly condemn Sudan.  Chad only wanted to live in peace and in a state of democracy and the rule of law.

ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan) said he was not surprised by the “crocodile tears” of Chad’s representative before the Council.  Chad tended to ascribe to others its failures in fulfilling its commitments pursuant to signed agreements.  What was happening in Chad was an internal affair, with which Sudan had nothing to do.  Sudan had repeatedly called for independent mechanisms to assess Chad’s repeated accusations.  Chad continued, however, to avoid the meetings of the monitoring mechanisms set up in the Qatar meeting, and its lack of political will had become clear to all.

He said Chad had made it a habit to cover its criminal activities in Sudan by bringing complaints to the Council whenever it planned an act against his country.  The current accusation was yet another operation to cover up an intensive aggression that would be conducted by JEM from Chadian territory.  JEM was supported by Chad and had resumed its military activities in several places, relying on logistical support from the Chad Government, including vehicles.  The Government of Chad had also provided JEM with the means to enter refugee camps in Chad and conscript people there, including children, according to a report submitted to the Council by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Everybody had to admit that Chad had internal, complicated problems that had existed decades before the Darfur problem, he said.  Chad’s accusations were “null and void” and were meant to cover current aggressive acts.  Peace and stability in Chad was linked with stability in Sudan, and his country was, therefore, keen to help establish such stability in Chad.  Sudan had invested in efforts to mediate for over two decades, he said, describing numerous examples of such mediation efforts before the problem in Darfur had arisen, one of which had led to the 1993 Tripoli Agreement.  However, the record of Chad’s Government of eliminating everybody opposed to it was well known.

He said it was sad to be forced to portray before the Council Chad’s consistent attempts to undermine the numerous agreements reached, including the Doha agreement, which had been negotiated at a time when Chad and JEM were preparing for the criminal invasion of Sudan.  He looked forward a the time when Chad would solve its internal problems and desist from efforts to destabilize Sudan, and from making accusations.  Sudan was facing enough challenges; it did not gain anything from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, including in Chad.  The international community must recognize that Chad had chronic problems predating the problems in Darfur, and recognize the good offices Sudan had deployed, in that regard.

Once again, Chad was running to the Council, with the support of one Council member known to all, who only sought to serve its strategic interests in the region.  If the Council wanted to help Chad, it must advise that country to first seek reconciliation with all its people, and not to ignore regional mechanisms that tried to establish peace in the region.  It was strange, in that regard, that Chad had rushed to the Council, at the same time that the African Union’s Peace and Security Council was considering the issue.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.