Joint force

 

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, Idriss Deby, Chad's president, and Francois Bozize, president of the Central African Republic, attended the talks.

 

John Kufuor, African Union (AU) chairman, said the three parties might be ready to accept a new proposal for a joint AU and UN force operating at the borders between them.

 

"They seem to be ready to accept a beefed-up force from the African Union and the United Nations to take control of the borders among them," he said.

 

Kufuor said the three parties might be ready to
accept a joint AU and UN force [AFP]
The UN Security Council has proposed sending peacekeepers to secure Darfur's border area outside Sudan, and the council has discussed a proposal to deploy a mission in eastern Chad, which borders with Darfur.

 

Kufour however failed to respond fully to questions about Sudan's commitment to an AU-UN joint force.

 

"You wait. It's early days yet."

 

Respect for sovereignty

 

Jerome Bonnafont, spokesman for Jacques Chirac, the French president, said the agreement included "respecting the sovereignties and refraining from any support for armed movements."

 

The UN has approved a separate three-phased deployment of UN peacekeepers to Darfur to relieve and support the 7,000-strong AU mission there.

 

The first phase, involving a small number of UN military and civilians, has been completed but Khartoum has still not approved the second phase, which involves about 3,000 UN soldiers, police and staff.

 

"We are not in Cannes to entertain the crowd"

Ahmat Allam-Mi, Chadian foreign minister

The UN wants 17,000 troops in Darfur but cannot send them without Khartoum's approval.

 

Experts say 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 2.5 million others driven from their homes.

 

Before the start of the meeting, Chad criticised Khartoum for failing to respond to attacks from Darfur upon its territory.

 

Ahmat Allam-Mi, Chadian foreign minister, said: "This same meeting is useless because it is aimed at distracting international public opinion and moving it away from the real problem, which is that Sudan is attacking Chad.

 

"We are not in Cannes to entertain the crowd."