News24

Madagascar rivals set to meet again

2012-07-26 14:18

Antananarivo - Madagascan rivals are due to meet again in a "few days" after their first direct talks ended in the Seychelles without finalising an agreement, the island's ruler Andry Rajoelina said on Thursday.

"There will be another meeting in a few days," he told reporters on return from the Seychelles where he met the man he toppled in 2009, Marc Ravalomanana, in talks brokered by the regional bloc SADC.

He said they met twice for several hours over the two days they spent on Desroches Island, a private beach paradise about 230km from Mahe, the Indian Ocean archipelago's main island.

The first was between the two of them and the second roped in South African President Jacob Zuma, who has been the mediator in the crisis, along with Seychelles President James Michel.

"During the two meetings, the two presidents decided to schedule another meeting. After the second round, in a few days, there will be a follow up at the SADC summit," he said.

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which mediated the talks, has set a 31 July deadline for the rivals to settle their differences, so a timetable for elections can be unveiled next week.

The Indian Ocean island of Madagascar has been mired in political crisis since Rajoelina ousted Ravalomanana in March 2009 with the army's support.