The transitional president of Chad invited armed opposition groups to participate in a national dialogue on Tuesday, reversing previous statements that the government would not negotiate with rebels.
His father, the former president, was assassinated while visiting troops fighting insurgents in the north in April, prompting his son, the leader of the Transitional Military Council (CMT), to take power.
Deby said rebel groups were invited to participate in an “Inclusive National Dialogue” before presidential and legislative elections, but he gave no timetable.
In a speech, Deby said, “We all hope for a free and sincere dialogue with the military-political movements.”
There should be an end to the petty practices, political calculations, and rearguard battles that have caused too much damage to our country.”
Previously, the junta refused to negotiate with rebel groups, particularly the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which reached within 300km of N’Djamena in April from Libyan bases.
In his view, armed groups have “a patriotic obligation to reconsider their positions” and help the transitional council build national unity.
With jihadist insurgency Boko Haram erupting in northeast Nigeria in 2009, Chad is a key contributor to a multinational force in the Lake Chad basin.