SADC tries to break Madagascar deadlock

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IOL pic aug9 madagascar ravalomanana Reuters (File image) Marc Ravalomanana

Antanarivo -

Senior regional officials seeking to end a three year crisis in Madagascar flew in on Friday to meet political parties after talks between the country's rival leaders ended in deadlock.

Members of the defence and security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are to hold talks with the various political groups that penned a peace roadmap in September last year.

“I have come to hear from the signatory political parties of the elections roadmap to prepare a report for the SADC summit” on August 17 and 18 in Maputo, said the head of the delegation, South Africa's deputy foreign minister Marius Fransman.

The delegation is due also to meet members of the country's electoral commission and Prime Minister Omer Beriziky.

Talks between ruler Andry Rajoelina and the man he ousted, Marc Ravalomanana, ended after just 30 minutes and without result on Wednesday on the tourist archipelago of the Seychelles.

Rajoelina said afterwards that his rival must be kept from returning to power “at all costs.”

Madagascar's government has announced elections for next year in the large Indian Ocean island nation, but is opposed to Ravalomanana returning to contest the vote, arguing that a criminal conviction disqualifies him.

The 15-nation SADC, which mediated the talks, has extended a deadline to August 16 for the rivals to settle their differences. - Sapa-AFP

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