Chad Ex-president Urges Junta To Include Rebels In 'dialogue'
Two weeks after veteran Chadian leader Idriss Deby Itno was mortally wounded fighting a rebel force, one of his predecessors, ex-president Goukouni Weddeye, has called for inclusive dialogue to "save Chad"
N'Djamena, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 3rd May, 2021 ) :Two weeks after veteran Chadian leader Idriss Deby Itno was mortally wounded fighting a rebel force, one of his predecessors, ex-president Goukouni Weddeye, has called for inclusive dialogue to "save Chad".
Goukouni, who ruled the turbulent Sahel country from 1980 to 1982, urged "reconciliation to end our quarrels," in a process that would embrace the Libyan-based rebels who claimed Deby's life.
The junta's head, Deby's 37-year-old son Mahamat, has vowed to eradicate the rebel force, ruling out negotiations.
But Goukouni, 77, said in an interview with AFP "the destruction of the country" was the major risk, and questioned the hard line.
"We have to bring them (the rebels) in too. We cannot consider them as criminal enemies and reject them. It is impossible," he said, suggesting a "round table" negotiating format.
Dressed in an immaculate white robe and sporting a neatly trimmed goatee, Goukouni has evolved into a statesman since his early rebel days.
A figure who rarely makes public comments, he is being courted by leading players in the country's crisis, one of his aides said.
It was the elder Deby who overthrew Habre in 1990, going on to repel several coup attempts and uprisings to rule for 30 years, winning a string of elections in the face of a fragmented opposition and boycotts. In the hours before he died, Deby was proclaimed victor of the latest presidential poll in a landslide.
Now, almost a fortnight after the junta took over, uncertainty reigns in the former French colony of around 16 million people.
Goukouni warned that opportunists could swoop in during a power vacuum.
Chad, with a well respected fighting force, is central to the West's fight against jihadists in the Sahel, where myriad Islamist extremist groups operate.
Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke paid a visit last week to Goukouni in the sumptuous residence the former rebel leader received from the senior Deby in 2009 upon his return from 22 years in exile.
Goukouni warned against vindictiveness.
The CMT "cannot talk like someone who wants a vendetta," he said. "We should not throw salt into the wound."