The start of the first round of peace talks between Chad’s transitional military council and representatives from armed groups, which was supposed to take place in Doha, Qatar’s capital, has been postponed by 48 hours.
The negotiations, which are set to begin on Wednesday, might be a turning point in the country’s election preparations.
Peace discussions that go well are considered as a necessary prelude to a national dialogue scheduled for May in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.
The ruling transitional military council (TMC) is due to meet with civil society representatives to draft a constitutional framework for a civilian transition.
Chad was thrown into chaos last April when longtime ruler President Idriss Deby was killed fighting rebels in the country’s north. The military installed his son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, also known as Kaka, in control with the promise of free elections within 18 months.
Following a flurry of diplomatic attempts, rebel factions agreed to negotiate with the transitional council if certain criteria were met, such as the release of prisoners and the return of confiscated assets.
The discussions, however, got off to a shaky start when the planned opening ceremony on Sunday was postponed for 72 hours when representatives of Chad’s major armed organisation, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), walked away from the table.
It was in protest of former president Goukouni Weddeye, the discussions’ mediator, being replaced the previous week, as well as the “special technical committee” he oversaw.
FACT also demanded that Qatar explain its role, requesting that the host country act as a mediator rather than a facilitator in order to have guarantees for any pledges made as a result of the talks.
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