UN warns Madagascar

2011-09-25 13:23

Washington - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Madagascar strongman Andry Rajoelina on Saturday to "faithfully" stick to a settlement to end the country's political crisis, a spokesperson said.

Rajoelina met the UN leader after making his first speech to the UN General Assembly since he seized power in 2009 in an army-backed coup. Rajoelina has not attended previous UN summits amid threats by some other African nations to block any attempt to speak there.

Ban and Rajoelina "discussed the next steps in the implementation of the roadmap to end the crisis in Madagascar. The secretary-general urged that the key provisions be faithfully implemented," said UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky.

Most international organisations have suspended aid to the country since the coup.

Hopes of a return to normal have increased with a March accord brokered by the Southern African Development Community, under which Marc Ravalomanana, who was ousted in the 2009 coup, could be allowed to return from exile in South Africa.

Most of Madagascar's various political factions have now signed on to the deal.

Rajoelina again defended the ousting of Ravalomanana in his maiden speech to the General Assembly late on Friday.

"The Malgache people rose up with determination to break with a past characterised by bad governance, non-respect for the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law," he said.

Though Rajoelina's transitional government has little international recognition, the new strongman praised the African-led efforts to end the crisis and vowed to work toward free elections.

He appealed for UN help in quickly drafting a "credible" timetable for elections that meet international standards.

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