Aozou Strip

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The Aozou Strip is a 100 km. wide slice of territory inside northern Chad running along its international border with Libya. Otherwise an arid and barren piece of real estate, the Aozou Strip is believed to hold large uranium deposits.

In 1973, Libya engaged in military operations to establish a client regime in Chad and win control of the economic rents that would come from exploitation of its mineral wealth. Libya based its territorial claim to the region on an unratified 1935 treaty between France and Italy, the respective colonial powers at the time. Libya annexed the Aozou Strip in 1976.

The interantional border claimed by the government of Chad was based on a 1955 treaty between France, then the colonial power in Chad, and Libya. With intrernational support, the Chadian military forced the Libyans to retreat from the Aozou Strip in 1987. A cease-fire between Chad and Libya held from 1987 to 1988. In 1994 the International Court of Justice handed down a decision recognizing Chadian sovereignty over the Aozou strip.

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