Zuma in Seychelles for Madagascar talks

2012-07-25 09:18
Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

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Victoria - South African President Jacob Zuma arrived on Wednesday for landmark talks to resolve bitter differences between Madagascar's leader Andry Rajoelina and the man he toppled Marc Ravalomanana, officials said.

Zuma is a key mediator in the talks, which are being held on the remote island of Desroches, in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles.

"The South African President Jacob Zuma is in the Seychelles," the Seychelles Foreign Ministry said, adding he had flown to Desroches, a private beach paradise about 230km from the main island, Mahe.

Government sources said that Ravalomanana shook hands with his rival Rajoelina on Tuesday, before their respective delegations began preliminary meetings. Full face-to-face talks are expected to begin on Wednesday.

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) which is mediating in the talks, has set a 31 July deadline for the rivals to settle their differences.

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

Rajoelina, a former disc jockey who was only 34 when he seized power and who had to change the constitution to become eligible for the top job in future polls, has failed to garner broad international backing.

Rajoelina and Ravalomanana last year signed a "roadmap" toward elections, but the deal has yet to be fully implemented.

Read more on:    sadc  |  jacob zuma  |  sa  |  madagascar  |  southern africa
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