- MINURCAT approaching end of mission mandate
* Chad official says has asked U.N. not to renew mandante
By Moumine Ngarmbassa
N'DJAMENA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Chad has asked the United Nations not to renew the mandate of the world body's mission in the central African country in March, a Chadian official told Reuters on Monday.
"We have officially notified the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General of our wish to not renew MINURCAT's mandate," said General Oky Dagache, Chadian President Idriss Deby's representative to the MINURCAT, as the U.N. mission in Chad is known.
Dagache declined to give an immediate reason, but a U.N. source in Chad suggested the request may be a tactical move aimed at reforming the force's mandate.
"The mandate of MINURCAT is due for renewal by 15 March 2010," said a U.N. spokesman in New York.
"Following standard practice in such situations, we are consulting on the matter with the host government -- the government of Chad, Security Council members, troop and police contributing countries and other relevant partners," he said.
"Nothing has been confirmed yet."
MINURCAT's year-long mandate began last March, when 5,000 U.N.-commanded troops took over from a European Union force.
MINURCAT is responsible for ensuring security for humanitarian actions, particularly in the north-east of Chad, which borders Sudan's Darfur.
"The meeting (with the U.N.) is on March 15 so we are still waiting, but we are in negotiations," Dagache said.
Violence in Darfur erupted in early 2003, when mostly non-Arab rebels began fighting the Sudanese government and Khartoum responded by mobilising militia to quell the uprising.
The United Nations estimates the ensuing conflict claimed 300,000 lives and drove 2 million people from their homes.
Relations between Chad and Sudan are key to the conflict in Darfur, and the two countries have accused each other of supporting rebels fighting for more power.
(Additional reporting by Patrick Worsnip at the United Nations; Writing by Daniel Magnowski; Editing by Dominic Evans)
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