African leaders: Madagascar must respect accords

Leaders of the 53-member African Union (AU) want Madagascar’s rival politicians to stick to the agreements meant to help the Indian Ocean island out of a prolonged crisis, an AU official said Tuesday.

The leaders adopted a resolution urging the parties in the Madagascar crisis to respond by Friday to compromise solutions given to them on January 21 by AU Commission chairperson Jean Ping, the bloc’s Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said.

“The resolution states that the summit has taken note of the compromise solutions presented … to the Madagascar parties and asks them to give a positive answer,” he said.

“We have already started getting replies from some of the parties but we are waiting for the response of the party that took the unilateral decisions that have called into question the agreements,” he added, referring to the country’s strongman Andry Rajoelina.

Rajoelina led weeks of violent protests early last year that ended in the ouster of then president Marc Ravalomanana.

The military-backed overthrow prompted the AU to suspend Madagascar from the bloc until a return of constitutional order.

Efforts to resolve the crisis sparked by Rajoelina’s March 2009 coup have stumbled, owing to his intransigency over a power-sharing accord reached with rivals Ravalomanana and two other former presidents. — Sapa-AFP

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