EU suspends development aid to Madagascar

The European Union sanctioned Madagascar on Thursday over the “unacceptable” actions of its “de facto authorities” who seized power last year, by slashing funds.

Interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg formally endorsed the move to suspend all budgetary aid to Madagascar as well as development funds.

The EU move came three days after Andry Rajoelina, who grabbed power in an army-backed coup in March 2009, appointed generals as head of the armed forces and police, with military men also taking the health, fishing and environment ministries.

Prime Minister Camille Vital, a retired general, remains at the top of the government.

Rajoelina had announced plans to reshuffle the government after the failure of the latest round of internationally backed talks at ending the country’s political crisis at the beginning of the month.

EU humanitarian aid, and other operations already under way will continue except for activities and payments directly involving the government and its agencies.

“The EU considers the forcible transfer of power in Madagascar on 17 March 2009 a serious violation of democracy and the rule of law,” the 27 member states agreed.

Since then there has been no consensus on the implementation of political agreements signed by the country’s factions last year.

“Instead, the de facto authorities have unilaterally announced a roadmap for transition,” which the EU considers “unacceptable” hence the need for “appropriate measures,” the European Union statement continued.

Rajoelina has announced a political transition plan culminating in a presidential election in November in which he said he would not run. – AFP

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