Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Chad to expel German ambassador for ‘rude behavior’


The government of Chad has ordered the German ambassador, Gordon Kricke, to leave the country within 48 hours due to his alleged “non-respect of diplomatic customs,” according to a statement from the country’s communication ministry. The decision was made after Kricke criticized delays in holding elections after a coup and a ruling that would allow interim military leader Mahamat Idriss Deby to run in elections in 2024. The move has been described as “absolutely incomprehensible” by a source familiar with Germany’s foreign ministry’s thinking, which is in contact with Chadian authorities.

Kricke, who has been in the role since July 2021, has previously served as a diplomat in Niger, Angola, and the Philippines. He was also a special representative for Germany in the unstable Sahel region. However, a government source told AFP that Kricke was seen as “interfering too much” in the governance of the country and making divisive remarks. He had been warned on several occasions, the source added.

The military government in Chad had originally promised an 18-month transition to elections when Deby seized power after his father, President Idriss Deby, was killed on the battlefield during a conflict with rebels, ending decades of authoritarian rule. However, last year, the military government extended the timeline by two years, delaying elections until October 2024. This move sparked protests in which dozens of civilians were killed and worried regional powers and the United States, who have warned against extending military rule.

Many diplomats in Chad, which borders Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Sudan, sharply criticized the violence. The German embassy joined others, such as France, Spain, and The Netherlands, in expressing its concern about the delayed return to democracy.

The expulsion of Kricke has raised concerns about the state of diplomatic relations between Germany and Chad. The move is seen as a blow to Germany’s efforts to promote democracy and stability in the Sahel region, which has been plagued by conflict and instability in recent years.

Germany has been actively involved in efforts to stabilize the region, including through its participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali and its support for the G5 Sahel Joint Force, a regional military alliance aimed at combating terrorism and organized crime.

The Sahel region has become a major focus of international attention in recent years due to the rise of jihadist groups, ethnic conflict, and political instability. The region is also facing a growing humanitarian crisis, with millions of people in need of assistance due to conflict, displacement, and food insecurity.

Germany’s engagement in the Sahel region reflects its broader commitment to promoting peace, stability, and development in Africa. The country has been one of the largest donors of development aid to Africa in recent years, providing support for a wide range of initiatives aimed at promoting economic growth, good governance, and human rights.

The expulsion of Kricke is likely to be seen as a setback for Germany’s efforts to promote democracy and stability in Chad and the wider Sahel region. It remains to be seen how the German government will respond to the move and whether it will have any impact on its broader engagement in the region.

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