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Rajoelina in Brussels to ask EU to maintain aid

Army-backed leader Andry Rajoelina is in Brussels to persuade the European Union to maintain aid to Madagascar, left in diplomatic isolation after Rajoelina's power grab was deemed a coup by the international community.

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AFP - Madagascar's army-backed leader Andry Rajoelina left Saturday for Brussels to impress upon the European Union, which has suspended aid, that his transitional government is legal, officials said.

"The delegation led by the president left today for Brussels where it will plead Madagascar's case with all the necessary legal proof," about the legitimacy of the regime, the presidency's press service told AFP.

Madagascar's elected president Marc Ravalomanana was toppled in March following street protests that saw opposition leader Rajoelina take power, with the army's blessing.

Talks sponsored by the African Union and the United Nations were launched on April 8 between Rajoelina's transitional authority and supporters of Ravalomanana, who is still recognised by the international community as the island's lawful leader.

Talks were suspended on June 16 but international mediation is set to resume this month.

Rajoelina will hold high-level talks in Brussels with officials such as Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel, the EU representative in Madagascar, Jean-Claude Boidin, told AFP.

The EU decsribed the Madagascar power grab as a coup and suspended any new contracts under an aid programme.

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