Sudan and Chad strike peace deal
The presidents of Chad and Sudan have signed an accord in Senegal aimed at halting five years of hostilities between the two countries. ( BBC )
Chad's Idriss Deby and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir agreed to implement past failed peace pacts at a Dakar summit.
The neighbours have often accused each other of supporting rebel movements trying to overthrow their governments.
Hours before they met, Chad accused Sudan of sending heavily armed columns of Chadian rebels across its border.
Thursday's signing ceremony was witnessed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The accord was struck on the fringes of an Organisation of the Islamic Conference summit under Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade's mediation.
The deal - known as the Dakar agreement - commits the two nations to implementing past accords that have failed.
It calls for the establishment of a monitoring group of foreign ministers from a handful of African countries that would meet monthly to ensure there have been no violations.
The deal said the leaders had agreed to "inhibit all activities of armed groups and prevent the use of our respective territories for the destabilisation of one or the other of our states", reported the Associated Press news agency.
Sudan earlier dismissed Chad's claims that it had sent Chadian rebels over the border on Wednesday as "complete nonsense".
There has been no independent confirmation of any crossing.
Chadian rebels say they already operate inside the country and EU peacekeepers there said they had detected no incursion.
Earlier, an announcement on Chadian radio said "several columns of heavily armed rebels" had crossed the border from Sudan near the town of Ade.
But the Chadian rebel National Alliance denied any cross-border movements from its fighters.
A rebel attempt to overthrow President Deby's government was thwarted last month.
In recent weeks Chad has taken steps to prevent attacks from rebels, including digging a deep trench around the capital, N'Djamena, and cutting down trees which could provide cover for attackers.
The government fought off last month's attempted coup in a fierce two-day battle.
The attack took place just before the deployment of a European peacekeeping force, to safeguard refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad and the Central African Republic.