Madagascar rival leaders to meet again Wednesday: sources
08/05/2012 18:27 GMT
ANTANANARIVO, Aug 5, 2012 (AFP) - Madagascan leader Andry Rajoelina and the man he toppled in 2009, rival Marc Ravalomanana, will hold their second talks in two weeks on Wednesday to end a bitter deadlock, sources said Sunday.
"The one-on-one meeting behind close doors will take place on Wednesday. Rajoelina and Ravalomanana are expected in the Seychelles on Mahe, where the meeting will take place," a source close to the affair told AFP, referring to the main island of the Indian Ocean archipelago.
"Ravalomanana leaves South Africa tomorrow (Monday) and will arrive in the Seychelles on Tuesday to attend the meeting Wednesday," another source said.
Ravalomanana's spokeswoman Brylyne Chitsunge told AFP in Johannesburg the two would meet this week, but could not confirm the date.
No other official information has been given.
The first personal meeting between the rivals ended without a resolution on July 25.
The pair had held talks for several hours on Desroches Island, a private beach paradise some 230 kilometres (140 miles) from Mahe.
The 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which mediated the talks, extended a deadline to August 16 for the rivals to settle their differences. If they fail, they risk exclusion from the mediation process.
Meanwhile Madagascar announced the first round of long-awaited polls will take place on May 8 next year.
The Indian Ocean island has been mired in political crisis since Rajoelina ousted Ravalomanana in March 2009 with the army's support.
Although the two last year signed a "roadmap" toward elections, the deal has yet to be fully implemented.
The main point of contention is Ravalomanana's return to his country. Exiled in South Africa for the past three years, he wants to be cleared for the 2013 polls.
He faces life in prison back home after being sentenced in absentia for the killing of demonstrators by his presidential guard during protests that led to his overthrow in 2009.
He has twice been turned away when he tried to return to Madagascar, and his wife was deported to Thailand on July 27 when she arrived in Antananarivo from Johannesburg.
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