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Madagascan president, rival meet again
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09:00, February 24, 2009

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Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana and the opposition leader Andry Rajoelina met for the second time Monday afternoon without any signs of tentative resultafter their one-hour meeting.

"Results of the negotiation remained secret," Odon Razanakolona, chairman of Christian Churches Council told the media shortly after the meeting, which took place at a private hotel, Le Hintsy,in the eastern suburbs of the capital city.

Razanakolona said that the two protagonists took a big step at the meeting, organized by the churches council, but they needed to meet many times before finding a solution to their differences.

Razanakolona said that the two sides would meet again but refused to disclose the place and the time of the meeting.

Ravalomanana arrived at the hotel around 13:00 p.m., while Rajoelina reached five minutes before him.

Madagascan National Assembly president Jacques Sylla, who is also president of the ruling I Love Madagascar party, Minister of Trade, Economy and Industry Ivohasina Razafimahefa and the vice-president of the Senate, Noel Rakotondramboa, were presented at the negotiation.

On the opposition side, two former ministers under the government of Didier Ratsiraka, Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, who was appointed by Rajoelina earlier this month as minister of foreign affairs under his transitional government, and Desire Ramakavelo, the former defense minister in 1991, were members of the delegation.

Influential Christian churches leaders and the United Nations Representative to Madagascar Dr Xavier Leus also attended the meeting. Ravalomanana and Rajoelina met for the first time last Saturday.

At the meeting organized by the Christian churches council, the two sides agreed to stop diffusion of wrong information and halt robbery and destruction of private goods and public properties.

Street demonstrations would also be stopped while the government promised to stop arrest of those who led the demonstrations.

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

Hours after the first meeting, Ravalomanana told the national through the national television and radio that the political crisis could be managed with the wisdom of the Madagascan people and he would continue to talk with the opposition.

Through his private television channel Saturday evening, Rajoelina called for his supporters to suspend anti-government activities, which had continued for the last two months. Rajoelinatold his supporters that he decided to talk with Ravalomanana because he had a duty to prevent possible loss of life in confrontation between the two sides.

He said that the government had released his supporters shortly after his 15-minute meeting with Ravalomanana.


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