In the region, Déby moved to repair and solidify relations with neighboring countries placing high importance on securing the support of Libya and Sudan, both of whom backed his takeover in late 1990. In August 1996, a tripartite Chad-Sudan-Central African Republic summit was announced to set up a regional integration program. In November 1996, Chad and Libya met for their third joint commission and reaffirmed their desire for cooperation. Good relations with Libya have proved a challenge because of historical antagonism between Libya and Chad over the Aozou strip, and because of the delicate role Qaddafi played in mediating the hostilities between Déby and the MDJT. The mistreatment and forced repatriation of Chadian migrants from Libya in 2000-01 further strained relations between the two countries. Déby has also sought and received economic and political linkages with various Arab states.
Déby also has had difficulties with the Central African Republic (CAR) over the exile in Chad of the former CAR armed forces commander, General Francois Bozize, who also was suspected of plotting against the CAR government. However, Chad reportedly sent troops to defend President Ange-Félix Patassé after the May 2001 coup in CAR. Mediation from the region was expected to improve relations between the two countries. However, in 2002 border clashes continued between rebel groups of the two countries, and Déby blamed CAR president Ange Felix Patasse for the situation. Chad has withdrawn its troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sent there to repel rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. Diplomatic relations with President Wade and Senegal have been important because of the multiple law suits in N'Djamena demanding the extradition and repatriation from Senegal of former president Hissène Habré for alleged human rights abuses.
International human rights groups have documented human rights abuses under Déby's regime as well. In October 1996, Amnesty International strongly criticized the French government, charging them with "silence or complicity" in the face of arrests and executions being carried out by Déby's government. Amnesty's attacks were directed against France because approximately 800 French troops were then stationed in Chad. France responded by claiming no knowledge of abuses and no authority to intervene. They have considered a reduction in the number of French forces based in Chad. Though the French are only tepid in their support of Déby, they recognize the strategic importance of Chad in relation to contemporary trouble spots on the African continent and do not want to lose their military position there. For Déby, maintaining good relations with the EU and the multilateral lending institutions is key, but will depend on the quality of elections, measures to control corruption, and adherence to IMF policies.
In January 1995, the Esso-led oil consortium, Chad, and Cameroon signed a pipeline management agreement, which was to have oil moving from southern Chad to the Cameroonian port of Kribi by 1999, thus further solidifying relations between Chad and Cameroon. However, turmoil in the region, weakening of resolve of some consortium partners, and international environmental and human rights concerns have delayed the project. Overruling these concerns, on 6 June 2000, the World Bank agreed to lend US $39.5 million to Chad and US $53.4 million to Cameroon to help build the 1,070-km (665-mi) pipeline. Exxon Mobil is the lead company in the pipeline project and had required, before it would proceed further with the project, that the World Bank participate in the project in order to protect private company investment from possible future nationalization of the company by Chad or Cameroon. Chadian political opposition has not responded favorably to the World Bank's decision to become involved. The opposition condemns World Bank funding because they contend that it fuels government corruption, embezzlement, and drug trafficking. As of early 2003, the pipeline was scheduled to become operational by year's end.