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UN Security Council holds emergency session on Chad
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The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting late Sunday on the deteriorating situation in Chad but failed to agree on a France-sponsored draft statement.

The emergency session, which began late Sunday afternoon and lasted for more than three hours, was called for by France and the three African members of the council -- South Africa, Burkina Faso and Libya.

Besides the draft text, the council also considered a letter from the government of Chad to request assistance from all UN member states.

"We have had a very good spirit of cooperation," France's UN ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters after the meeting.

"We want the Security Council to react as soon as possible, first of all, by supporting the decision of the African Union to mandate colonel Gaddafi (of Libya) and the President of the Republic of Congo to try to put an end to the fighting," Ripert said.

Ripert noted that the draft also urged the council to condemn attacks on the capital N'djamena by rebels and condemn any attempt to seize power by force in Chad.

There was "almost a consensus" among council members, Ripert added.

Panama's UN ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias, the council's president for this month, told reporters that the council is to meet again on Monday to try to reach an agreement.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to the fighting in Chad.

The secretary-general "is profoundly alarmed by the dangerous situation in Chad," said a statement issued by Ban's press office.

"The secretary-general further calls on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and engage in dialogue so as to prevent further bloodshed," it said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)

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