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Stalemate In Madagascar

Stalemate In Madagascar
Stalemate In Madagascar

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The on-again, off-again efforts to restore constitutional order in Madagascar appear to have stalled once more as crisis talks were suspended on June 16 after the island nation's political rivals failed to agree on formation of a consensus government.

The United States regrets greatly the suspension of the African Union- and United Nations-led mediation effort, and for the good of all parties urges them to return to the negotiating table.

The crisis was spurred in March, when President Marc Ravalomanana was forced to resign amid street protests over his rule. He handed the government over to the military, which in turn conferred authority to opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, who proclaimed himself “President of the High Transitional Authority.” President Ravalomanana fled the island and the international community condemned Rajoelina's move as a coup d’etat. The political turmoil has wreaked havoc on Madagascar's economy, particularly its $390-million-a-year tourism industry.

The international community has urged formation of a consensual transitional government to lead Madagascar into presidential elections as soon as possible, but negotiations have stalemated over various demands from the nation’s four major political parties.

With the parties dug in like this, the U.S. continues to believe that the only way to resolve the crisis is through a consensual political process that leads to free and fair elections as quickly as possible. We deplore and condemn the unconstitutional actions that led to the current situation and consider a resort to violence unacceptable.

We remain impartial and will not support unilateral solutions by particular political factions; as such moves would not produce credible, unbiased elections. The best solution for all involved is to return to negotiations and find agreement for settling the question of the presidency at the ballot box, not in the streets.