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Leader of France-allied Chad hails ties with Putin

By AFP

January 24, 2024 06:40 PM


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The leader of France-allied Chad hailed ties with Russia during a meeting on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said the Kremlin would help to "stabilise" the African country.

Chad is France's close partner in the Sahel region and the meeting came as tensions between Moscow and Paris escalate over the conflict in Ukraine.

Chad's transitional president General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno was in Moscow on Putin's invitation and called the visit "historic."

"I came here from a friendly country, a brother country, a sovereign country that wants to reinforce relations with a friendly country," he told Putin in televised remarks.

He said he hoped the meeting would "benefit both of our peoples."

Mahamat Deby was proclaimed head of an army junta two years ago after rebels killed his father Idriss Deby Itno, who had himself seized power in a coup and ruled for three decades.

"We are glad that you were able to stabilise the situation in the country. We will assist this in every possible way," Putin told Deby, adding that Russia "attentively follows" the situation in Chad.

The country is France's last close partner in the Sahel region following the forced withdrawal of French troops from Mali in August 2022, Burkina Faso in February 2023 and Niger in December.

All three countries have since moved closer to Russia.

Moscow has a strong presence -- including in the form of private Wagner mercenaries -- in countries bordering Chad, such as the Central African Republic and Libya.

France has accused Wagner of war crimes in the region.


AFP


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