Tensions mount between Madagascan protagonists

11:15, December 11, 2009      

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Tensions have mounted between Madagascan transitional president Andry Rajoelina and former presidents Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy.

At a press conference held Wednesday evening, Rajoelina raised his tone on a letter sent by Zafy to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, requesting a ban on the visa of Madagascar's delegation expected to attend the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

"We have the honor to urge you not to grant any facility, including the issuance of visas and accommodation to a purported Madagascar's delegation led only by Mr. Rajoelina, for lack of recognition and representation," said the letter signed on Dec. 3 by Zafy.

Describing the letter as "greedy of respect and a shame for all Madagascans," Rajoelina was very angry, saying that he could not accept or make any concession to the letter containing a "provocation."

Rajoelina said the letter, which was written secretly on Dec. 3 but was returned to Rajoelina as he is the transitional president, made difficult the cohabitation that signatories want to set up in Madagascar.

Rajoelina, 35, was also angry at the decision taken by former presidents, who distributed without Rajoelina's camp the ministerial posts during their meeting in the Mozambican capital Maputo earlier this week.

"There is no more hope for the three former presidents," said Rajoelina, adding that the decisions they had taken would change many things in the country and in the transition.

Though Midi, a French-language daily, reported on Thursday that Rajoelina would form another government, he has not yet revealed in the press conference his final decision, but he indicated that he would first consult all forces of the nation and representatives of international agencies in Madagascar.

It remains to be known whether Rajoelina will continue or reject all cohabitation with his main political opponents after consultation with forces of the nation, including representatives of the international community in the country.

A few hours after the press conference held Wednesday evening by Rajoelina, Zafy, who is currently blocked in Maputo with his movement and those of Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka, told Rajoelina via a private local radio station, Radio Don Bosco, that Madagascar is not owned only by Rajoelina, the other camps are also owners of the island country.

Zafy, 82, said the three political camps blocked in Maputo would return to Madagascar as soon as possible. They have to stay in Maputo since Thursday following a order issued by Minister of Transport Rolland Ranjatoelina to suspend the flight between Mozambique and Madagascar,

However, Ravalomanana's camp tried to calm the situation by a declaration of a co-president of transitional presidential council Fetison Rakoto Andrianirina, who said on Thursday that they moved to Maputo to try to resolve the political crisis which started in Madagascar in December 2008.

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