- Title: CHAD: US envoy Donald Yamamoto arrives in Chad amid doubts over oil deal
- Date: 24th April 2006
- Summary: CLOSE OF PRISONERS WITH LINKED ARMS
- Embargoed: 9th May 2006 13:00
- Location: Chad
- Country: Chad
- Topics: International Relations,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVA89UEV8PBOIBMQUT9PXVULBDFD
- Story Text: A top U.S. envoy arrived in Chad on Monday (April 24) a week ahead of its deadline for stopping oil production in a dispute with the World Bank, but it was unclear whether he could broker an immediate solution, officials said.
The central African country has threatened to halt oil output by the end of April unless the World Bank unblocks frozen oil production royalties or an Exxon Mobil-led consortium in the country pays at least 100 million U.S dollars.
The World Bank suspended loans to Chad in January and froze an escrow account containing Chadian oil revenues because it said the government had broken an agreement to ensure oil profits were saved for a long-term plan to fight poverty.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto arrived in N'Djamena on Monday and was due to meet officials from the government and Exxon Mobil.
Earlier this month, he had asked the Chad government to postpone a previous deadline for halting oil output to allow time for talks on the ongoing dispute.
U.S. officials have shied away from talking about mediation in the disagreement, instead saying Washington would act as an "honest broker" to try to foster better understanding between N'Djamena and the World Bank.
"It is an information mission. He has come to inform himself on the current situation in Chad," the country's foreign minister, Ahmat Allam-Mi, told Reuters.
"We are going to consult and reflect on questions of common interest. But Yamamoto is not in charge of the mediation on the question of oil," he said, adding the trip had been planned for some time.
Chad is on high alert after rebels it says are backed by Sudan attacked the capital N'Djamena this month, their boldest attempt yet to end President Idriss Deby's nearly 16-year rule.
Deby has said Chad needs quicker access to oil revenues -- some of which were meant to be saved for future generations under the original World Bank-backed deal -- to help bolster national security against rebel attacks.
Sudan has denied backing the insurgents. stop oil production if the payment is not made.
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