CHAD: More aid needed now but peacekeepers not expected for months
N'djamena , 6 September 2007 (IRIN) - Peacekeepers are unlikely to arrive in Chad for at least three months, according to senior UN diplomats who spoke following a joint military mission to the country by representatives of the European Union and the UN. Meanwhile the World Food Programme (WFP) is launched a new appeal for funds to assist Darfur refugees in Chad and victims of inter-communal clashes in Chad.
“We would hope that the EU will be in a position to give us an operational concept in maybe two weeks. That's the time we need to do the work seriously and also bearing in mind that at any time we might have to verify the work in full cooperation with [Chadian President Idriss] Deby and the [Chadian] authorities,” Jean Maurice Ripert, French Ambassador to the UN, told IRIN on 5 September.
After the EU report is filed, the Security Council would adopt a resolution giving a mandate to the EU to undertake the mission. The Council of Ministers of the EU would then have to vote on the operation.
“We would be looking at doing diplomacy on the ground and would hope this would be done by the end of September, if possible, in three months at the latest,” Ripert said. “Then a practical operation by the end of October.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is travelling to Sudan and Chad this week. "I want to go and see for myself the very difficult conditions under which our forces will operate," he said.
Ripert warned that arrangements for the mission in Chad may not proceed quickly. “This is a multi-faceted operation, so there are a number of phases to it. There are a number of components,” he said.
The Chad mission might also be tied to the deployment of UN/Africa Union peacekeepers in the Darfur region of Chad’s neighbour, Sudan. “What we hope as well, in particular, is that this deployment [happens] together with the first [Darfur] deployment of the hybrid force so that we show specifically that operations in Darfur and in Chad… are mutual comforting and mutually reinforcing.”
Meanwhile, the WFP announced on 6 September that it urgently needs US$81 million to mount another major operation to get food to the 230,000 Darfur refugees and 150,000 internally displaced people who it feeds at scores of camps and sites across the remote deserts of eastern Chad.
Getting food to the region requires sending a fleet of 8,000 trucks overland through Libya and Cameroon, WFP said, and as such donors need to start giving money now so the organisation can start pre-positioning food for next year.