ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (Xinhua) — Madagascar’s major political parties would continue their negotiations in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia at the weekend in an effort to get the country out of the current political crisis.
Media reports said here on Friday that more than 50 representatives from all political camps of the island country would go to Addis Ababa to discussed and, if agreed, to sign the transitional charter prepared by international mediators last month.
The mediators, including special envoys from the United Nations, the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Organization of French- Speaking Countries have met separately since Tuesday representatives of four Madagascan presidents, namely the current president Andry Rajoelina, who is the president of the High Transitional Authority, and his predecessors Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Ratsiraka and Zafy Albert.
However, they have not reached any agreement during the talks due to insistence of each president on his own conditions.
While Ravalomanana’s representatives insisted on the return of their leader, Ratsiraka asked amnesty for all political prisoners, who have been living in exile, and Rajoelina totally rejected the return of Ravalomanana.
This is the third round of political talks between the big four and the international mediators following Rajoelina’s take- over as president of the Indian Ocean island country on March 21 this year.
Vowing to “wipe out all traces of Marc Ravalomanana in the country,” Rajoelina described his predecessor as a corrupt president and a dictator.
A sentence for Ravalomanana is scheduled on Friday by a Madagascan court allegedly for Ravalomanaana’s killing of dozens of Rajoelina’s supporter in clashes between anti-Ravalomanana demonstrators and the armed troops guarding at the downtown presidential palace on February 7, when Rajoelina led his followers to try to enter into the palace to take over the presidency.
On Wednesday, the first instance court sentenced Ravalomanana to four year in jail and a fine of 70 million U.S. dollars for his misuse of public money to buy a Boeing 737-300 jet as his special presidential aircraft.
Ravalomanana, who has insisted that he is still president of Madagascar, rejected the verdict, saying that the court has no power to sentence a president still in power.
Observers here said that the verdict is likely a plot by the transitional government to ban Ravalomanana’s return to his country.
One day after the sentence, Ravalomanana told his supporters through telephone from South Africa that he would be back with foreign peacekeepers to celebrate Madagascar’s national day on June 26.
Asking Madagascan armed forces to lay down their arms, he claimed that he has the support from South African president Jacob Zuma, who has promised to send armed peacekeepers for his return, reports here said.