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UN senior official to visit Madagascar
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10:48, February 07, 2009

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Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana confirmed the scheduled four-day visit of a senior United Nations official beginning from Saturday to help the island country to find a way out of the current political crisis.

Ravalomanana told a government council meeting here Thursday evening that, at the invitation of his government, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would send Haile Menkerios, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, to talk with him, his rival Andry Rajoelina, major of the capital city and others concerned.

Earlier on Thursday, UN spokesperson Maria Okabe announced that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was sending Haile Menkerios to Madagascar "to assess the situation in the country and explore what the United Nations could do to help avert further violence and contribute towards peace and stability".

Ravalomanana appreciated the confirmation of the African Union to hold the 13th AU summit here from July 1 to 3, saying that it was an honor for his country to host such an event, the first of such in the Indian Ocean island country.

The president called his people for peace and serenity and promised to take necessary measures to meet the daily needs of the people and an earlier return of normal life.

Meanwhile, Rajoelina has replaced nearly all leaders in charge of local affairs by his supporters, while the special team, appointed by the government last Tuesday, was busy repairing infrastructural facilities damaged in the mass riots, which began on Jan. 26.

The opposition leader said last weekend that he would announced names of his transitional government the coming Saturday.

At a mass gathering at the end of last month, Rajoelina declared himself as leader of the country and was in charge of the national affairs.

The political crisis brought a great concern from the international community with International Monetary Fund and the World Bank had decided to suspend payment of aids totaling 35 million U.S. dollars on the ground that President Ravalomanana mixed the government funds with those of his company.

According to a broadcast by Radio France International (RFI), a check of 80 million dollars from the World Bank, scheduled to be provided next April, might not be signed.

Source: Xinhua

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