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Madagascan rivals fail to reach agreement in 3rd meeting
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09:01, February 25, 2009

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Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana and opposition leader Andry Rajoelina met again for the third time Tuesday afternoon but there was no sign of an agreement after their one-hour meeting.

The delegates from the both sides left the private hotel Le Hintsy, in the east suburbs of the capital city, shortly after the meeting without giving any details of the meeting.

Madagascan National Assembly president Jacques Sylla, who is also president of the ruling I Love Madagascar party, Minister of Trade, Economy and Industry Minister Ivohasina Razafimahefa and Vice President of the Senate, upper house of the parliament, Noel Rakotondramboa, participated in the negotiation, which began around 15:00 p.m. (12:00 GMT).

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 Desiré Ramakavelo, the former Defense minister in 1991, presented at the meeting.

Influential Christian churches leaders and the United Nations Representative to Madagascar Dr. Xavier Leus were among others who attended the meeting.

President Ravalomanana and Rajoelina, the former mayor of the capital city, met for the first time on Saturday and they met again on Monday.

At their first meeting organized by the Christian Churches Council, the two sides agreed to stop diffusion of wrong information and halt robbery and destruction of private and public properties.

The two sides also reached consensus on putting an end to violent demonstrations while the government led by President Ravalomanana promised to stop arrest of those who led the demonstrations.

The current political crisis, the worst in years in Madagascar, began in December when President Ravalomanana ordered to close down the radio and television owned by Rajoelina.

Hours after the first meeting between the rival parties, Ravalomanana told the national through the national and television and radio that the political crisis in the country could be managed with the wisdom of the Madagascan people, promised that he would continue to talk with the opposition to find a solution.

Through his private television channel on Saturday evening, Rajoelina called for his supporters to suspend anti-government activities, which were witnessed in the two months.

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

It is widely seen here that the negotiations between the two sides could last weeks even months due to their sharp differences on many problems.

The government led by Ravalomanana has urged all Madagascans to concentrate on the scheduled African Union Summit in coming July and reiterated the legality of his presidency.


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