Rajoelina and Ravalomanana discuss through delegates

For the first time since the power change in Madagascar, delegates of transitional leader Andry Rajoelina (photo) and former President Marc Ravalomanana are having talks at the embassy of Senegal in Antananarivo.


AFP - Madagascar's rival political camps of transitional leader Andry Rajoelina and ousted president Marc Ravalomanana are in talks to resolve a months-old crisis, officials said Friday.

The two sides opened talks Thursday under the aegis of the United Nations and the African Union and are being hosted at the embassy of Senegal in Antananarivo.

"We hope to arrive at a common agreement on the running of the transition," an official taking part in the talks told AFP on consition of anonymity.

Ravalomanana's party spokesman confirmed the talks were being held.

"We strongly wish that our president be part and present in the talks and his security be guaranteed," Raharinaivo Andrianantoandro told AFP.

Ravalomanana fled the country after he was forced out of office on March 17 by his army-backed rival Rajoelina who had led months of anti-government protests.

Former capital city mayor Rajoelina was sworn in last month as the country's transitional leader, but the ousted president has termed his takeover as coup and has been rallying international support against his rival.

At home, Ravalomanana's supporters have held a series of protests in the capital to demand his return.

The 53-member AU and the regional Southern African Development Community have suspended the Indian Ocean island from their groupings until a return of constitutional order.

On Friday, the Inter-Parliamentary Union also suspended the country alongside Guinea from the body.

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