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France urges Chad not to delay peace dialogue

France on Monday urged Chad to hold "without delay" landmark national talks with opposition forces that have been postponed indefinitely.

(FILES) This handout file photo released by the Chad Presidential Palace on April 27, 2021 shows General Mahamat Idriss Deby, Chad’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) leader, delivering a message at the presidential palace in N’Djamena. – A year ago, the Chadian army announced that Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, who had ruled the country for 30 years, had been killed on the front line by the rebellion. On April 20, 2021, his son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, a 37-year-old general, was proclaimed head of a junta and president of the transitional republic. (Photo by Brahim ADJI / Tchad Presidential Palace / AFP)

France on Monday urged Chad to hold “without delay” landmark national talks with opposition forces that have been postponed indefinitely.

The military government in N’Djamena announced on Sunday that the start of the dialogue, set for May 10, had been called off sine die after preparatory talks dragged on in Doha with Qatar mediating.

“France recalls its attachment to the holding, without possible delay, of a dialogue bringing together all the political and social forces of the Chadian nation in a climate favourable to the search for a consensus,” France’s foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

Paris “brings its support to the efforts made to this end by the Chadian authorities and parties with the backing of Qatar and Chad’s international partners,” she said.

The landlocked African nation was thrown into turmoil after long-time leader Idriss Deby Itno died fighting rebels last April.

His son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno seized control but promised free elections this year after a national dialogue originally scheduled for February.