U.S. urges more talks between Madagascar's political leaders

08:29, May 19, 2010      

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The ambassador of the United States to Madagascar, Niels Marquardt, urges new talks between the Indian Ocean island country's leaders of the four political camps.

"We have always supported international mediation led by president Chissano and we shall continue to do that. We are therefore in support of the Friday statement that called on the four leaders to resume negotiations," he said in an interview to local media published here on Tuesday.

The mediator of the Southern Africa Development Community, former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, has said the next round of negotiations will be held around the middle of the month.

President of the Highest Transitional Authority (HAT) Andry Rajoelina and former presidents Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Rastrika and Albert Zafy failed again to resolved their differences over power sharing in their latest round of talks held in late April in Pretoria, South Africa.

The four parties signed a Maputo agreement last year, but has never carried it out because of the differences.

"Rajoelina's decision not to run in the forthcoming presidential elections is welcome, but that alone is not sufficient to end the country's crisis. A consensual solution should be found through round-table talks," the American diplomat said.

The remarks were made in response to a roadmap unveiled by Rajoelina, who pledged to form a new government, a constitutional referendum and elections but not to run himself in the future polls. The roadmap, however, is considered unilateral by his opponents.

According to Marquardt, "Pretoria would be the most ideal place given its easy accessibility, but the talks could still be held in any other venue which is acceptable to everybody."

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