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Chad's diplomatic chief resigns amid reconciliation talks

Chad's diplomatic chief resigns amid reconciliation talks
Chad's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahamat Zene Cherif addresses the 73rd session of the ...   -  
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The head of Chad's diplomacy announced his resignation on Monday, accusing the ruling military junta of relegating him to the role of "extra".

The announcement comes in the middle of a laborious national reconciliation dialogue.

Chérif Mahamat Zene was the main negotiator for the government in the long and painful negotiations that led to a peace agreement in Doha on 8 August with some thirty, out of fifty, rebel movements.

This pact enabled some of the armed groups to be involved in the National Inclusive and Sovereign Dialogue (DNIS), which opened a month ago in N'Djamena and is supposed to lead to "free and democratic" elections.

"For some months now, my commitment and my will to serve my country have been thwarted by parallel initiatives and actions by certain members of your cabinet and government, undertaken without my knowledge and on your instructions," writes the Minister of Foreign Affairs in his resignation letter.

The letter is addressed to the young general Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, self-proclaimed president of the Republic at the head of a transitional military council of 15 generals 17 months ago.

"These repeated and untimely initiatives and interferences are only intended to hinder the exercise of my duties," he said, invoking "a situation as unhealthy as it is confusing and unacceptable reducing me to a mere extra.

As soon as the death of Idriss Déby was announced, the junta dissolved the parliament, abrogated the constitution and dismissed the government to appoint one a few months later.

Mahamat Déby, endorsed by the international community, immediately promised to return power to civilians through elections at the end of an 18-month "transition" ending in October, but renewable once "if the Chadians do not reach an agreement" during a national reconciliation dialogue.

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