October 24, 2008:
The violence in eastern Chad has declined,
partly as a result of progress in the peace talks with Sudan (which seems
preoccupied with the war crimes prosecutions of Sudanese leaders, and don't
want more trouble on their border with Chad.) In the next week or so, the two
countries are expected to exchange ambassadors again. In fact, things have
settled down to the extent that some foreign aid groups, who had recently fled
to escape bandit activity, have returned and resumed operations.
Russia has completed negotiations with
the EU (European Union) over what its helicopter detachment for Chad will do.
Basically, the hundred Russian troops will operate four unarmed Mi-8
helicopters, much as a similar Russian unit does to the east inside Sudan. The
Russians will arrive in the next month or so and stay for a year.
In a blow to the morale of the 400
Irish peacekeepers in Chad, they have been told that there is no room on supply
flights for Christmas parcels from home. There is no international mail service
in eastern Chad, so they only way for the troops to communicate is via mail
carried in and out via military supply flights. The brass do plan to have a
special meal on December 25th.