The situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion Letter dated 6 May 2009 from the Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2009/232)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. La Yifan
|Mr. Hoang Chi Trung
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion
Letter dated 6 May 2009 from the Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2009/232)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter from the representatives of Chad and the Sudan, in which they request to be invited to participate in the consideration of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the consideration of the item, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Dmitry Titov, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
It is so decided.
I invite Mr. Titov to take a seat at the Council table.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in response to a letter dated 6 May 2009 from the Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council, contained in document S/2009/232.
At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Dmitry Titov, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. I now give the floor to Mr. Titov.
Members of the Council may recall that in the briefing by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to the Council on 24 April (see S/PV.6111), we called attention to a significant build-up of the Chadian National Armed Forces in eastern Chad, both in personnel and in equipment, apparently in anticipation of a rebel incursion. At that time, we noted reports of a parallel build-up of Chadian armed opposition groups across the border in West Darfur, in the area of El Geneina. While this was cause for serious concern, this build-up did not, until recently, result in any significant clashes or cross-border incursions by the armed opposition groups.
To the extent possible, the United Nations undertook to deploy much-needed additional United Nations troops more rapidly to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) in the eastern part of the country, to enable it to deliver on its protection mandate. As Council members are aware, the mandate authorizes the United Nations to protect civilians in danger, facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid and movement of humanitarian personnel and protect United Nations personnel and facilities.
On 26 April, we began receiving unconfirmed reports, including through MINURCAT, of minor skirmishes between the Chadian security forces and small groups of rebels of the Union des forces de la résistance (UFR) in eastern Chad. Subsequently, we received unconfirmed reports of air strikes conducted on 1 and 2 May by the Chadian National Armed Forces on rebel positions. This was occurring in the vicinity of the border with the Sudan. In a statement dated 4 May, the Secretary-General expressed his serious concern over the build-up and movement of army and rebel forces and called on the Governments of Chad and the Sudan to make every effort to immediately ease tensions.
On 5 May, MINURCAT was able to confirm that the Chadian National Armed Forces were conducting air strikes, using jet fighters and attack helicopters, against a rebel column in eastern Chad in the area south of Goz Beida. Reports indicated the existence of three main rebel columns: two had moved into eastern Chad, while the third reportedly remained in a static position across the border. Reports on the actual sizes of the columns vary, but each column is believed to number anywhere between 50 and 100 vehicles.
Regrettably, the situation intensified, and on 6 May the Secretary-General was compelled to express his increasing concern and to call for respect of the humanitarian character of United Nations operations and the operations of our non-governmental partners in eastern Chad.
On 6 and 7 May, we continued to receive reports from MINURCAT on air strikes targeting the rebel column, which was apparently located in a corridor extending from Goz Beida to Koukou Angarana and Kerfi in eastern Chad. These air strikes have reportedly resulted in heavy rebel losses. The extent of these losses, however, is difficult to assess at present. No assessment is available on the extent of losses by the Chadian army either.
Yesterday, we received reports of very heavy ground engagement between the Chadian army and UFR rebels in the vicinity of Am Dam, north of Goz Beida in eastern Chad, which is believed to be a pivotal area for any further progress towards the towns of Abéché and N’Djamena. According to today’s report, heavy fighting in this area continues and unconfirmed reports received from the Chadian armed forces indicate that the Front is claiming 125 rebels and soldiers killed and over 150 rebels taken prisoner.
Meanwhile, the second rebel column is reported to have moved southward to the area of Tissi, near the border with the Central African Republic, and it has since moved westward towards Am Timan. We have no confirmed reports that this column has engaged in fighting yet.
The deteriorating security situation in eastern Chad has prompted humanitarian actors, including three United Nations agencies and 11 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to relocate their non-essential staff from Koukou Angarana to Goz Beida as a precautionary measure. In addition, some international NGOs have decided to relocate their staff from areas such as Ade and Abéché. At the request of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) command, MINURCAT has also assisted in the relocation of 25 of their officers in the area. In total, our Mission assisted in relocating almost 100 various international and national staff, who are currently under the protection of the MINURCAT contingent.
The head of MINURCAT, Mr. Victor Angelo, visited Goz Beida two days ago to personally take stock of the situation in town and to reassure the United Nations and NGO staff as to the determination and capability of MINURCAT to protect them. Also, two days ago, the United Nations suspended all its activities in several regions of eastern Chad, owing to movement of armed opposition groups in those areas.
Thus far, no significant population displacements have been reported as a result of fighting. The confrontation, however, has gravely compromised the ability of the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and their NGO partners to deliver humanitarian assistance.
On 3 May in Doha, under the auspices of the Governments of Qatar and Libya, the Governments of Chad and the Sudan signed a new bilateral agreement to normalize relations and deny any support, in their respective territories, to rebel groups that are hostile to either of them. Only two days later, on 5 May, a spokesman of the Government of Chad accused the Government of the Sudan of sending armed elements into eastern Chad and thus breaching the Doha agreement. A spokesman of the Government of the Sudan has denied this accusation, noting that his country remained committed to the Doha agreement.
It is essential, therefore, that both Governments act upon the Doha agreement and past commitments to prevent further rebel incursions from either side of the border. It is also essential that armed opposition groups realize that efforts to seize power through force are unacceptable. In that regard, the current presence of representatives of the Justice and Equality Movement in Doha for meetings with representatives of the Government of the Sudan is an encouraging development from our point of view.
At the same time, as the rainy season is beginning, it is critically important that the humanitarian community be able to pre-position essential humanitarian supplies and materials, especially in the communities that become isolated due to flooded and impassable roads. Should the current situation worsen, it could potentially jeopardize that very important humanitarian work.
As of today, the MINURCAT force stands at 2,396 personnel, which represents 46 per cent of its authorized strength. The force lacks 14 of the 18 military utility and reconnaissance helicopters called for in the concept of operations for the Mission. It has yet to achieve the full deployment of the Ghanaian battalion, and will not commence deployment of the Nepalese battalion as an operational reserve, based in Abéché, until June, based on that unit’s readiness to move.
As a result, the United Nations military force lacks the ability to observe and track incidents as they develop, as well as a force reserve that possesses the necessary mobility to reinforce sites or to react to changing circumstances. We therefore urge the Council to join the Secretary-General and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations is appealing to potential troop contributors to provide MINURCAT with the required helicopter and other assets in order to enable it to fully deliver on its mandate. In the meantime, we commend the work of the United Nations uniformed and civilian personnel, who continue to serve in eastern Chad under extremely difficult conditions.
I thank Mr. Titov for his briefing.
I now give the floor to the representative of Chad.
I would like first of all, Sir, to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the month of May. I would also like to welcome the Secretariat’s report and to assure it that it has received our full attention.
I have come from Doha, where once again I was naive enough to hope that the Khartoum regime had decided to put an end to its aggression against my country and indeed to its subversive attempts to thwart our policy to consolidate the rule of law and democracy. For a moment, I actually hoped that it would be the end of those attempts to overthrow the legitimate institutions of the country and to install in N’Djamena an authority loyal to Khartoum — Khartoum, which thus hopes to benefit from the complicity of such an authority to continue with impunity its crimes against humanity in Darfur.
However, at the time of the press conference that followed the signing of the agreement, a slight doubt about Khartoum’s good faith crossed my mind. Indeed, in answer to a question about the presence of subversive forces on Sudanese territory, the Sudanese Minister wanted it believed that the fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) were based in Chad, giving as an example the presence in N’Djamena of Mr. Khalil, the head of that movement. However, with the agreement of the Sudan, we facilitated a meeting between the envoy of a great country and Mr. Khalil of JEM. That envoy used his good offices for the resumption of the Doha inter-Sudanese talks, with a view to a ceasefire and a political settlement of the Darfur crisis. He managed to convince JEM to dispatch a delegation to Doha. Did we commit a crime by playing our role of facilitator?
Khartoum’s attitude does not surprise us if we look at the past. Peace agreements have been signed at the level of heads of State — first in Tripoli, Libya, on 8 February 2006; in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 3 May 2007; and in Dhaka, Senegal, on 13 March 2008 — not to mention the many communiqués issued in the context of peace initiatives of the countries of the subregion or of the African Union under the auspices of our brother, Guide Muammar Al-Qadhafi. Once the meeting was over and the agreement signed, the ink hardly dry, whether immediately afterwards or a few days or weeks later, we were attacked by forces coming from the Sudan.
In short, if, despite all those agreements, the situation continues to worsen, it is because somewhere there is ill will and bad faith. One tends to say that it is the fault of both countries, which seems to us inaccurate. How can you put on an equal footing the one that started the war — the aggressor — and the one that is defending itself: the victim.
We are the victims of a Machiavellian machination of the Khartoum regime, whereas we have not stopped working for peace in Darfur. But Khartoum has unjustly accused us of being behind the rebellion in Darfur and has mounted a vast war machine to destabilize our country. The proof exists. We have proof that since the beginning of 2005, the Sudan has recruited, equipped and trained a subversive tribal force against Chad. These are Sudanese, Chadian and bi-national combatants whose only goal is to overthrow the legitimate institutions of the country. It made available to that force Toyota military vehicles, heavy weapons, equipment stockpiles, food, fuel and so on. And it has not stopped trying to unite all those tribal components into a common front and has made available to them several military training camps in Darfur.
Moreover, the Khartoum regime applauded the desertion of some elements of the Chadian National Armed Forces in October 2005 and the defection of some Chadian officers in December 2005. Those soldiers and officers were retrieved by Khartoum, which placed them at the head of its war machine to conceal its aggression as an intra-Chadian issue.
That subversive force became active on 26 September 2005, when it attacked the Chadian town Moudeina. Two major attacks were carried out on Adré on 18 December 2005. That double attack on Adré was followed by a huge offensive against several Chadian military garrisons in eastern Chad and a Sudanese refugee camp on Chadian territory. But the most spectacular attacks were those of 13 April 2006 and 2 February 2008 on N’Djamena, clearly revealing Khartoum’s intention to overthrow State institutions.
With regard to what is occurring in the eastern part of my country, members will agree with me that I was right to tell them in my previous communications that the rule of law and democracy, which we intend to consolidate in Chad, necessarily depend on stability and peace in the country, and not the obscure strategies of the groups of armed mercenaries in the pay of the Sudan. They will agree that the establishment of a lasting peace in Chad depends also, and in particular, on the consolidation of the democratic rule of law in the country through effective implementation of the provisions of the 13 August 2007 political agreement sponsored by the international community. They will agree too that those who, as I said, are still today being unfairly called the armed opposition must renounce the use of force and return to the country, in accordance with the 25 October 2007 Sirte Agreement, instead of rejecting that Agreement on the pretext that it is obsolete, thus helping to consolidate the democratic rule of law, to which we want them to truly commit themselves by endorsing the 13 August 2007 political agreement. However, I also quite rightly emphasize that we should not dream too much, as we know that they are not free to choose that path, which is contrary to their masters’ Machiavellian designs.
Despite the Doha agreement, their masters ordered them to enter Chad, and its army supports them in attacking Chad. Members will recall that I emphasized their presence in the Sudan and that, under the 25 October 2007 Sirte Agreement, they were supposed to be disarmed and regrouped where they were stationed. That is why, before the Council, we welcomed the Secretary-General’s most recent report on this topic (S/2009/199), in which he stated in paragraph 13 that those indebted to Khartoum — our phrase — “continued to consolidate their forces in West Darfur near El Geneina”. On the same occasion, I reaffirmed our commitment to comply with the provisions of all the peace agreements linking us to the Sudan: the Tripoli, Dakar and Riyadh Agreements. And I concluded by expressing to the Council our hope that the Chadian-Sudanese peace talks to be held in Doha, Qatar, would pave the way for a true normalization of our relations.
On 5 May, the Government of the Republic of Chad recalled that it had welcomed the signing of the Doha agreement on normalizing relations with the Sudan — the umpteenth agreement, as knowledgeable observers ironically stressed. Trusting in the commitment of the mediator countries and the expressed will to implement the provisions of all previous agreements, the Government of the Republic of Chad emphasized that it hoped that this time, there would truly be a return to peace and trust between the two countries.
Regrettably, the Chadian Government bitterly noted that the intentions and the strategy of the Khartoum regime had not changed and that, by signing the Doha Agreement, the Khartoum regime had acted with the same duplicity as with previous agreements. With the ink on the Doha Agreement not even dry, the Government of Chad denounced the aggressive posture of the Khartoum regime, which had launched several armed columns, equipped with 350 vehicles, against our country. They were defeated, but we do not exclude the possibility that Khartoum will repeat its aggression. The Chadian Government believes that, by unleashing that planned aggression against Chad, the Sudanese regime renounced the Doha agreement.
Through its statement, the Government of the Republic of Chad wishes to draw the international community’s attention to the bad faith of the Khartoum regime and to ask that it take all necessary useful measures to help Chad protect its stability, its integrity and the safety of its beleaguered population. Therefore, I wish to state that, on my Government’s instructions, I requested that the Security Council hold an urgent meeting to consider the new aggression committed by the Sudan against my country. I thank the Council for heeding our appeal and organizing this meeting.
It is no longer a secret to any Council member present here that the puppet force created, armed, equipped and led by Sudanese soldiers and reinforced by the notorious Janjaweed militia has constantly attacked my country. As I said, the Secretary-General’s most recent report indicated the presence of that force near El Geneina, in the Sudan. The Chad-Sudan mediation cannot deny that, because it requested that the Doha meeting be delayed and held on 28 April instead of 7 April, as previously planned, to give the Sudanese Government time to fulfil its commitments under the 25 October Sirte Agreement by moving its puppets away from the border and disarming them. The Doha agreement also refers to the Sirte Agreement in its provision calling for the parties to comprehensively implement the agreements of which they have been witnesses and guarantors.
This new situation, which dangerously threatens peace and security in the subregion in general and in Chad in particular, deserves the urgent attention of the Council so that it can take all appropriate measures to put an end to the Sudan’s repeated aggressions against my country, which needs the international community’s support to protect its integrity, its stability and the security of its population. The Security Council must no longer tolerate the fact that thousands of men equipped with hundreds of vehicles are being mobilized by the Sudan in plain view of the entire world to attack my country. The Council must clearly condemn the Al-Bashir regime for its repeated acts of aggression over the years against my country, which has suffered too much from war and aspires to live in peace under the rule of law and democracy, even though that is not what Khartoum would prefer.
Permit me at the outset to express our satisfaction at seeing you, Sir, presiding over the Security Council as the representative of a country that is well known for its full commitment to the firm principles guiding international relations and that has friendly relations with my own country. We have no doubt that, with your wisdom, you will lead the Council’s deliberations to the success to which we all aspire. We also commend your predecessor, the Permanent Representative of Mexico, for the skilful manner in which he conducted the work of the Council last month. In addition, we thank the representative of the Secretariat for his valuable briefing today.
Once again, the Sudan was not surprised by the crocodile tears that Chad shed before the Security Council. We have never been surprised when Chad has rushed to accuse our country, which is not involved in the internal conflicts that have intensified between Chad and its opposition. That has become a consistent and well-known method of the Chadian Government. We have not been surprised at Chad’s tendency to blame the Sudan — in ploys that no longer deceive anyone anywhere in the world — for its own failure to honour commitments under the agreements that it has signed with Chadian factions against the Sudan.
What is happening in Chad is an internal affair that the Sudan has nothing to do with. On several occasions, the Sudan has called for independent mechanisms to investigate Chadian allegations that were made to conceal Chad’s domestic failures and to mask its plans for aggression against the Sudan.
Yet, as is well known, Chad continues to avoid meetings of the Contact Group stipulated in the Dakar Agreement, and member States of the Group can testify to that fact. A lack of political will on the part of the Chadian leadership to implement its agreements with the Sudan has become entirely clear to everyone.
We would like to draw attention to the fact that Chad has made a habit of covering its criminal activities on Sudanese territory by bringing complaint after complaint to the Security Council, and by multiplying its false accusations whenever it plans an act of aggression against our country.
There is abundant evidence. We recall the aggression carried out against Omdurman on 12 May 2008: a few days prior to the attack, Chad complained to the Security Council in order to pre-emptively cover it up. We assure the Council that these latest accusations against the Sudan are yet another obvious and clear manoeuvre to cover up intensive aggression that is taking place and that will be carried out by the Justice and Equality Movement from Chadian territory against positions and sites of a party to the Darfur Peace Agreement.
The Movement attacked the area of Forawiya on 5 May and took the area leader as prisoner, and on 6 May it attacked the area of Abu Kumbra. At this very moment, the Justice and Equality Movement, which is supported by Chad, is conducting attacks on several areas east of Djebel Mara and around Djebel Moun, relying on major logistical support from the Government of Chad. This support takes the form of 200 Land Cruisers, 22 four-barrelled guns, 60 DShK guns, 150 Karnov machine guns and 20 oil tank trucks, in addition to other military support. Through this Chadian support, the Justice and Equality Movement has resumed its military activities in Darfur, having been compensated by the Government of Chad for the losses it incurred during its attack on Omdurman.
In clear violation of all relevant provisions of the agreements, the Government of Chad has facilitated the Justice and Equality Movement’s entry into the refugee camps in eastern Chad, allowing it during the past few months to conduct conscription campaigns among the refugees and displaced persons. They have even recruited children and used them in their irresponsible adventures. Reports submitted to the Council by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs testify to that state of affairs.
Everyone has to recognize and admit that our neighbour Chad has complicated internal problems that predate the Darfur problem by decades, and for which a peaceful and comprehensive political settlement is needed. Avoiding the facts and levelling accusations against others will not help to bring about the peace and stability that we in the Sudan are eager to see as soon as possible, for we know that in the stability of Chad lies the stability of the Sudan as well.
Therefore, Chad’s accusations that the Sudan is destabilizing Chad are without merit, as they are intended to cloak an act of aggression that is taking place now and to divert attention from the real problems of Chad. As members of the Council know, the Sudan is eager to bring about stability in Chad. Our initiatives and contributions are in no way transient: bringing about stability in our neighbouring State is our strategic goal, to which the Sudan has devoted considerable efforts over the decades, well before the problem of Darfur arose. The Government of Chad knows very well that the Sudan sought to achieve national reconciliation in Chad throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
The Government of Chad also knows that, at the initiative of the Government of the Sudan and under its auspices, reconciliation between the Government of Chad and the opposition culminated in the signing of the N’Djamena Agreement of 14 May 1993 between the National Front of Chad led by Mr. Elharith and the Government of President Idriss Déby. The Government of Chad knows very well that the Sudan led a mediation initiative to address the problems that arose between Chadian President Idriss Déby and his former Defence Minister Abbas Koty. That mediation led to the conclusion of the Tripoli Agreement of 14 August 1993, under which the former Defence Minister returned to Chad. But Chad’s record of eliminating all those who oppose it is well known to all.
Chad knows very well that the Sudan led the reconciliation efforts between President Idriss Déby and the National Reform Council group. That mediation culminated in the Reconciliation Agreement of 1995.
On 22 October 1997, Khartoum hosted the reconciliation meeting between the Government of Chad and four opposition factions, which culminated in the conclusion of the Khartoum Agreement between both sides and the return of the opposition parties to N’Djamena in a Sudanese aircraft accompanied by a high Sudanese official. The Government of Idriss Déby knows that in July 1999 the Sudan led reconciliation efforts between the Government of Chad and the National Movement for Democracy and Development led by Moussa Madela.
Those are only a few examples of the reconciliation agreements that were brought about through the initiative of the Sudan, and under its auspices before the Darfur problem arose. Yet some have claimed that the problems flowed from Darfur into Chad rather than acknowledging that Chad had its own chronic and difficult problems.
Regarding the agreement between Chad and the opposition groups, in which the Sudan has played a key role, we refer as an example to the participation of the President himself in the reconciliation and mediation effort that led to the conclusion of the Sirte Agreement between the Government of Chad and the main opposition factions on 25 October 2007, under the auspices of President Muammar Al-Qadhafi of Libya. Over the years, the Sudan has remained a constructive party in all the efforts, including bilateral and regional mediation initiatives, between President Idriss Déby and the Chadian opposition.
It is sad indeed that I am obliged to describe to the Council Chad’s constant attempts to undermine the agreements that have been reached and to which the Sudan remains unilaterally committed. Those agreements include the Tripoli Agreement of 8 February 2006, the Khartoum Framework Agreement of 28 August 2006, the Riyadh Agreement of 3 May 2007, the Dakar Agreement of 13 March 2008 and the recent Doha Agreement of 3 May 2009, on which we were negotiating just as the Government of Chad and the Justice and Equality Movement were preparing their criminal invasion, which is now under way and which Chad is attempting to conceal under a multitude of accusations against the Sudan.
We look forward to Chad turning its attention to the resolution of its own internal problems. We look forward to it ceasing its continued attempts to destabilize the Sudan and prolong the war in Darfur, using the Justice and Equality Movement to that end, and putting an end to its blatant allegations. The Sudan already has enough priorities and challenges to face, and it has nothing to gain by interfering in the internal affairs of any other country, let alone those of the Government of Chad. The Sudan attaches great importance to Chad and knows that it will be affected — negatively or positively — by anything that happens in Chad. In view of the kinship that links us with the tribes and all the people of Chad, we hope that the Government of Chad will have the courage to address its internal problems and fulfil its commitments in that regard.
Levelling accusations at the Sudan will not help Chad. The international community must recognize too that Chad has chronic problems that predate the Darfur issue. The Government of Chad must acknowledge the Sudan’s good-offices efforts rather than making baseless accusations. It must show the political will to fulfil the aspirations of both peoples to a stable and safe environment, something to which my country is committed.
Chad’s repeated recourse to the Security Council — with the well-known support of one member of the Council which seeks only to further its own strategic interests in the region — is not in the interest of Chad or its people and does not serve the stability of these two neighbourly States. Nor does it serve the credibility of the Security Council.
If it truly wishes to help the sister Republic of Chad, the Security Council must advise it first to seek reconciliation among its own people and not to ignore regional mechanisms such as the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States, which is making praiseworthy efforts to build peace in the region. The Security Council has been calling for a larger role for regional arrangements, and it should translate its words into deeds. It is strange indeed that Chad should rush to the Security Council in this way at the very time when the African Union Peace and Security Council is considering this matter.
I wish in conclusion to assure the Council that the Sudan is fully committed to the policy of good-neighbourliness and to implementing all agreements concluded between our two States, in the interests of peace and stability.
There are no further speakers on my list. In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, I should now like to invite Council members to informal consultations to continue our discussion of the subject.