- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Madagascar breakthrough close - SADC
- Date: 21st June 2009
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (JUNE 20, 2009) (REUTERS) DELEGATES AND INVITED GUESTS SEATED SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC) LOGO SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA STANDING AT PODIUM EMPTY CHAIR RESERVED FOR MADAGASCAR/ SIGN READING: "MADAGASCAR" DELEGATES LISTENING SWAZILAND KING MSWATI III LISTENING ZIMBABWE'S PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE SITTING LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT, JACOB ZUMA SAYING: "We believe that peace will be achieved if all parties to the conflict are committed to the process. It is crucial that there be an inclusive political dialogue where all the relevant parties and stakeholders have an opportunity to be part of the finding of a solution." DELEGATES APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 6th July 2009 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVALSJIY4VFX6RAAAU7PF49KW7H
- Story Text: Southern African leaders meet in bid to restore political order to Madagascar after the alleged coup in March.
Leaders of the Southern African Development Community met on Saturday (June 20) hoping for a breakthrough over Madagascar, after internationally mediated talks on the island collapsed earlier this week.
SADC mediators sent to Madagascar will report to the heads of state and governments after the African Union and United Nations suspended talks indefinitely citing a lack of political will.
Southern African leaders suspended Madagascar from the SADC regional grouping in March, saying they would not recognise Andry Rajoelina, who took power in a move condemned as a coup by the international community.
SADC chairman, South African President Jacob Zuma, said on Saturday the grouping was hopeful of a resolution to the political turmoil, which has wrought havoc on the Indian Ocean island's 390 million US dollar a year tourism sector and unnerved foreign companies investing in its booming oil and mineral sectors.
"We believe that peace will be achieved if all parties to the conflict are committed to the process," Zuma said.
"It is crucial that there be an inclusive political dialogue, where all the relevant parties and stakeholders have an opportunity to be part of finding a resolution," he added.
SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao said the various parties were close to reaching a breakthrough, but differences on major issues like a possible election remained.
Rajoelina, 35, a former disc jockey, came to power in March when President Marc Ravalomanana stepped aside after intense pressure from the opposition and army chiefs.
Ravalomanana, who fled to southern Africa, insists he remains the legitimate leader of the Indian Ocean island and has rejected sharing power with Rajoelina.
Ravalomanana was due to attend.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was there.
The African economic bloc COMESA said earlier this month a military intervention to restore constitutional order on the island could be an option.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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