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Madagascan president, opposition agree to stop violent demonstrations
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13:17, February 22, 2009

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Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana and opposition leader Andry Rajoelina agreed here on Saturday afternoon to stop violence, local media reported.

This is the first direct meeting between the president and the opposition leader since last December, when the current political crisis began, said local radio broadcast.

The meeting, which ended around 14.00 (1100 GMT) on Saturday, was organized by the Christian Church Council.

Shortly after the meeting, the council issued a statement, saying that the two sides had agreed to stop violent demonstrations and provocation in the media against each other.

The statement called for an end to politically motivated arrests.

The Christian Council of Churches issues a statement achieved after the meeting between Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana and his rival Andry Rajoelina, in Antananarivo Feb. 21, 2009. Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina agreed here on Saturday afternoon to stop provocation and violent demonstration during their meeting, which was the first between the president and the opposition leader since last December, when the current political crisis began. (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)

It also said the rival parties will meeting again but did not give the date of the meeting.

The agreement came one day after President Ravalomanana expressed his willingness to respond positively to the request of political leaders of his country amid the current political crisis facing the country.

Meeting political leaders allied to the ruling I love Madagascar party late on Friday, President Ravalomanana promised to find a political solution to the on-going political crisis prevailing in the country.

"In a democracy, the majority opinion is dominant, but it does not mean the president will not listen to the minority," he said, adding that "the problem facing the island country now is that the minority wants to take over power".

The current political crisis, the worst in years in Madagascar, started in December, when Ravalomanana ordered to close down the radio and television station run by Rajoelina.

Dozens of people have been killed in the riots sine then.

Source: Xinhua

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