US Urges Chad to be More Inclusive After Junta Chief Wins Vote

Fri May 17 2024
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WASHINGTON, United States: The United States on Thursday called on Chad to be more open to political rivals after junta leader General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno won an election to end military rule.

The United States, which along with former colonial power France has security ties to the Sahel nation, said it welcomed the election but was “concerned” by the expulsion of several rivals from Deby.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that while there have been troubling shortcomings, they welcomed milestones in Chad’s transformation process,” including elections and talks with the rebels.

“We call on the Chadian authorities to work with all stakeholders – especially political parties and civil society organizations – to address any concerns related to these elections and strengthen the inclusiveness and transparency of Chad’s institutional framework for future elections,” he said in a statement.

The final results of the May 6 vote announced on Thursday gave Deby – whose late father ruled Chad for three decades until he was killed in 2021 – with 61 percent of the vote.

Ahead of the vote, the United States said it was withdrawing some of its 100 troops stationed in Chad as part of a campaign against extremism in the Sahel.

The State Department’s top official for Africa, Molly Phee, told a congressional hearing this week that the United States still has a “very small number of troops” in Chad and does not view the temporary withdrawal as a “hostile” act by the country.

She said she expected the United States to hold post-election talks with Chad on security cooperation.

The United States recently agreed to withdraw 1,000 troops from neighboring Niger, long a key partner in counter-jihadist operations, after a coup brought to power a junta that has built ties with Russia.

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