Round two for Madagascan rivals
Madagascan ruler Andry Rajoelina and the man he toppled in 2009, Marc Ravalomanana, are to hold a second round of talks in the Seychelles today in a bid to end a bitter deadlock.
The first round two weeks ago, under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community, ended without a resolution and failed to ease tension between the two. Instead, hostilities escalated when, days after the talks, Ravalomanana's wife tried to return home and was prevented from doing so.
Reaching a deal on the conditions of Ravalomanana's return is one of the main obstacles to lifting the impoverished nation out of its dragging political crisis.
Rajoelina said yesterday Ravalomanana was entitled to go home, but that did not preclude him from prosecution. He could return under the provisions of a roadmap to peace that allows "the unconditional return of political exiles . but does not suggest returnee citizens are exempt from prosecution".
Ravalomanana was convicted in absentia for the killing of demonstrators by his presidential guard during protests that led to his overthrow. Thirty-six people were killed and hundreds wounded.
Exiled in South Africa, he hopes to return home to run for elections set for May 8 next year.
But Rajoelina has ruled Ravalomanana out of the elections, saying his conviction meant he no longer had full rights to run for president.
Ravalomanana yesterday dismissed his conviction by a "kangaroo court".