Chad peace talks hindered by dispute over format
As the Chad peace talks were coming to an end, a dispute within the African Union Commission halted the process.
Chad's military government and dozens of opposition organizations began peace talks in Qatar on Sunday as a first step toward putting an end to the conflict and establishing elections.
However, following opening addresses in which the country's prime minister and the chairman of the African Union Commission both called for concessions, the negotiations were halted for 48 hours due to a disagreement over the format, according to opposition parties.
The death of longstanding leader Idriss Deby Itno in a clash with rebels last April shook the landlocked African country.
His son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, took over as leader of a military council but has promised free elections this year. The process risks being protracted and complicated.
44 armed rebel and opposition groups were invited to the Doha gathering. Some people were absent from the opening, which had already been postponed from February 27.
The problems were emphasized when the principal opposition Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) and several of its partners declined to begin formal discussions following the opening addresses.
According to FACT spokesperson Issa Ahmat, the opposition does not want direct communication with government personnel and is requesting that Qatar act as a mediator.