Mon, Jan 24, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Oil to dominate talks with diplomatic ally Chad

ENERGY SUPPLY Deals signed previously with Chad could supply up to one-seventh of the oil the CPC refines every day if the projects are successful

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Visiting Chad President Idriss Deby, center, and President Chen Shui-bian, left, wave to the crowd as they inspect an honor guard in Taipei yesterday. Deby arrived in Taiwan for a three-day visit.

PHOTO: EPA

Taiwan hopes to strengthen oil cooperation projects with its diplomatic ally Chad, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) told visiting Chad President Idriss Deby yesterday.

Deby, who is visiting at the invitation of Chen, arrived at Taipei yesterday morning. Chen and Deby held a meeting at the Presidential Office after a ceremony conducted at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, where Chen welcomed Deby with full military honors.

Deby and his delegation will stay in Taiwan for three days.

Noting both countries have signed a memorandum of understanding and an agreement on oil cooperation projects, Chen said he hoped the project could prosper with the help of Deby.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) will accompany Deby on a visit to the Chinese Petroleum Corporation's (CPC) Kaohsiung Refinery today. Chen Shui-bian and Deby will also sign a joint communique at Kaohsiung's Grand Hotel this afternoon.

Chad's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and African Integration Nagoum Yamassoum and the CPC signed the oil agreement during the Chad official's visit to attend the Oct.10 National Day celebration in Taiwan in 2003.

The CPC, which planned to invest NT$5 million to develop Chad's oil reserves, hoped to pump 100,000 barrels of crude oil from the African state's oil field daily in the future.

Oil from Chad will make up one-seventh of the oil the CPC refines every day if the projects are successful. The CPC viewed the Chad projects as one of its most important overseas investments, energy analysts said.

Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic provide the bulk of Chad's export earnings, but it has began exporting oil last year. A consortium led by two US companies has been investing US$3.7 billion to develop oil reserves as estimated at one billion barrels in southern Chad, where oil production came on stream in late 2003.

"Chad possesses rich oil reserves and has started oil production. Bilateral cooperation projects to develop Chad's oil fields is the main issue President Deby will discuss in the visit," said Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ouyang Jui-hsiung (歐陽瑞雄).

In his meeting with Deby, Chen Shui-bian said the friendship of Chad touched him.

"President Deby and his delegation's visit to Taiwan showed the firm emotional bond between the two countries and Chad's unchanging support for Taiwan," Chen Shui-bian said.

Lauding Deby's contribution to peace efforts in the Darfur region of Sudan, Chen Shui-bian said Deby also displayed outstanding leadership in regional affairs. He mentioned that Taiwanese experts once helped fix Chad's national radio station and restored a communication platform to the people and government of Chad.

"Since resuming diplomatic ties on Aug. 12, 1997, the two countries have maintained close relations. President Chen led a large delegation to Chad in August 2000, while the trip marks the third visit made by President Deby to Taiwan," a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Key members of Deby's delegation include Nagoum Yamassoum, Minister of Planning, Cooperation and Development Mahamat Ali Hassan, and the Director of the President's Civil Affairs Office, Mahamat Saleh Annadif.

"Not being intimidated by pressure, President Deby has held firm to the ideals of international justice and has supported Taiwan's participation in the international community," the statement added.

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