Chad military govt agrees to launch peace talks with opposition

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Chad's military government Monday signed a deal with more than 40 opposition groups to launch national peace talks later this month, although the main rebel outfit refused to take part.

after five months of mediation efforts by Qatar, the main rebel Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) announced hours before the ceremony at a Doha hotel that it would not sign the deal.

Under the agreement, Mahamat Idriss Deby's Transitional Military Council and hundreds of opposition representatives will launch a national peace dialogue in the capital N'Djamena on August 20.

The dialogue aims to agree the schedule and rules for a presidential election that Deby has promised by October.

FACT and other opposition groups have demanded that he announce that he will not stand in the election. Deby has said this can only be negotiated in N'Djamena.

Forty-three of the 47 groups who remained at the end of the mediation signed the accord to start national talks.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the African Union urged the junta and opposition to seize the latest opportunity to stabilise a country considered key to international efforts to stamp out Islamic extremists in the Sahel region.

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