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SADC calls on Madagascan rivals to talk
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16:07, February 07, 2009

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South African Development Community (SADC) has called for a political dialogue between Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana and his rival Andry Rajoelina to find a way out of the current political crisis.

Meeting President Ravalomanana here late Friday afternoon, SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Augustino Salomao said that he came to the island country to express solidarity with Madagascans.

The presidential website quoted Salomao as saying on Saturday that his mission here was to let Madagascans know that peace, stability and security were very important and very noble that should be defended every day.

"We must focus on the maintenance of peace," the SADC official said, adding that he arrived here to see how the situation was, and to communicate and convey a message related to the maintenance of peace.

Salomao said that the scheduled African Union summit meeting here in July was a pride not only for the government and the president but for all Madagascans.

A SADC evaluation mission would come to Madagascar next week to prepare a report on way and efforts to help the country get out the current crisis.

Salomao also met other officials, including Prime Minister Charles Rabemanajara and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcel Ranjeva on Friday.

He is scheduled to meet the opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, also mayor of the capital city, and convey the same message of a peaceful solution in the stalemate that began last December, when the government shut down Rajoelina's private radio and television station.

Following a mass riot that killed some 100 people late last month, Rajoelina proclaimed himself as leader of the country and called for dismiss of the government led by Ravalomanana.

Rajoelina has called a mass gathering here later on Saturday, during which he might announce the composition of his transitional government.

Source: Xinhua

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