No peace deal for Madagascar

Time of article published Aug 14, 2009

Share this article:

Aantannarivo - Madagascar's armed forces, which played a key role in the eviction in March of president Marc Ravalomanana, on Friday "categorically rejected" one clause in a peace deal negotiated in Mozambique.

In a statement signed by the armed forces minister, Colonel Noel Rakotonandrasana, and by the chiefs of staff of the army and the paramilitary gendarmerie force, the soldiers "categorically rejected (a provision) for the creation of a think tank on defence and national security (CRDSN)."

The peace deal signed in Maputo by Madagascar's rival leaders had provided for this "reflection committee", which would include two members from each of the political movements who have agreed on a transitional government.

But the statement signed by the military warned that such a think tank would "run contrary to regulations ... providing for the depoliticisation of the armed forces" promised by the transitional regime, led by Andry Rajoelina.

"All objections likely to raise dissent in the armed forces will no longer be tolerated," Friday's statement said, adding that undefined "appropriate measures" had been prepared in response.

The military hierarchy nevertheless said it had "full confidence that the Maputo accords will lead the country to political serenity, social peace and an economic recovery".

Rajoelina took power after weeks of street demonstrations and winning the support of the army, which led to the departure of Ravalomanana in March. But the international community does not recognise his regime and for months put pressure on all the Madagascan parties to negotiate.

The leaders of the island's four main political groups, including former presidents Albert Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka, agreed to set up an interim government and hold elections by the end of next year.

The marathon talks in Mozambique cleared key points of amnesty for Ravalomanana, the structure of a unity transition government, a constitutional referendum, and legislative and presidential elections within 15 months.

But the issue of who will lead the power-sharing government to steer the transition -- headed by a president, vice president, prime minister and three deputy prime ministers -- will await further talks. - Sapa-AFP

Share this article: