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Madagascar’s leader to meet ousted ex-president

Madagascar’s former president Marc Ravalomanana arrived in the Seychelles Tuesday for talks with current leader Andry Rajoelina, in a bid to end the political crisis that began when Rajoelina ousted Ravalomanana in 2009 with the army’s support.

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AFP - Madagascar's deposed ex-president Marc Ravalomanana arrived in the Seychelles Tuesday, ahead of landmark talks with current leader and rival Andry Rajoelina, officials said.

"The former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana has arrived in the Seychelles," the Seychelles Foreign Ministry told AFP.

Rajoelina arrived on the main island of Mahe on Monday morning, and was immediately transferred to Desroches, a private island 230 kilometres (140 miles) away where the talks will be held.

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is mediating in the crisis, is expected to bring the two men face-to-face on Wednesday.

SADC has set a July 31 deadline for the two rivals to settle their differences so that a timetable for elections in Madagascar can be unveiled next week.

The Indian Ocean island of Madagascar has been mired in political crisis since Rajoelina ousted Ravalomanana in March 2009 with the army's support.

Rajoelina, a former disc jockey who was only 34 when he seized power and who had to change the constitution to become eligible for the top job in future polls, has failed to garner broad international backing.

Rajoelina and Ravalomanana last year signed a "roadmap" toward elections, but the deal has yet to be fully implemented.

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