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SADC ministers discuss Madagascar, DRC

2012-07-30 21:55

Pretoria - Ministers from southern Africa on Monday opened talks set to be dominated by the crisis in Madagascar and violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Top diplomats and security officials from the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) were meeting ahead of an annual summit of heads of state due in Maputo on 17 and 18 August.

"We will today consider the SADC mediation in Madagascar aimed at getting elections and a restoration of normality," said Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane .

South Africa, the chief mediator in the three-year crisis on the island of Madagascar, last week got the ruler Andry Rajoelina and the man he toppled Marc Ravalomanana together in their first direct talks.

The meeting in the Seychelles failed to yield a deal on the conditions for Ravalomanana's return from exile, one of the major hurdles to clear before elections in the Indian Ocean island and an end to the crisis.

The ministers will also discuss the situation in DRC, where renegade soldiers led by a general wanted for crimes against humanity are challenging the regular army.

"We will also look at security in the region and get an update of developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo," said Nkoana-Mashabane at the start of the talks.

The United Nations and Congolese President Joseph Kabila have accused neighbouring Rwanda of supporting the rebels.

"SADC will never achieve regional development and true integration without regional stability and democratic governance," said the South African minister.