Sudan warns Chad but seeks diplomacy
Libyan leader to send envoy to both countries for talks to ease tensions
Sudan has told Chad it reserves the right to respond militarily to any aggression on its territory but said it will seek diplomatic ways to ease the tension, a foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday.
The Sudanese government has accused the Chadian army of launching an attack on Monday that killed 17 of its soldiers.
Chad denied any deliberate assault on its eastern neighbour, but it said its forces had clashed with Sudanese troops after crossing the border to pursue Sudanese-backed rebels it accused of launching raids.
“We have informed Chad that it is best to seek a peaceful solution to any problems but every country has a right to respond to an attack,” said spokesman Ali Al Sadig.
“We have not decided how we will respond but our steps will be made clear soon. We recommend a peaceful settlement.”
The incident increased tension between the two oil-producing central African neighbours, whose ties have been marred by violence spilling over from conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Al Sadig said Sudan's message was delivered to the Chadian ambassador on Tuesday and that Chad had summoned the Sudanese ambassador over the incident.
Meanwhile, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was to send an envoy, Abdul Salem Triki, to Sudan and Chad yesterday for talks aimed at easing tensions between the two countries.
Triki, assistant to Libya's foreign minister in charge of African affairs, said he would deliver letters from Gaddafi calling on the leaders of the two countries to “return to peace and dialogue.”
Chad's government warned Sudan against tak- ing military action, saying it would use all means to respond.
As the two sides traded accusations, the United Nations said up to 400 people had been killed in Chad in cross-border attacks by Sudanese Janjaweed militia 10 days ago and one UN official who visited the remote area described scenes as “apocalyptic”.
The four-year war in Darfur, which has killed an estimated 200,000 people, has driven several hundred thousand refugees into Chad and prompted the United Nations to study a peacekeeping force for the country's lawless east.