Madagascar calls continued suspension by AU 'double standard'

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Madagascar, which was suspended from the African Union (AU) in March 2009 after a military-backed coup, has complained about what it considers the 'double standard' on the part of the continental organization.

An official from the Andry Rajoelina regime, currently attending the 18th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, but has been barred from attending meetings because of his country’s suspension, said he had hoped for an early lifting of the sanction.

“We have nothing to say regarding the ongoing campaigns because we still remain on suspension,” the official, who wore a delegate's badge but did not have the AU accreditation, said on Friday.

“We had hoped the AU would lift the suspension. We understand this is politics. The latest events involving the forced return of Marc Ravalomanana (former President) may have caused this delay and inflamed the situation,” the official told PANA.

Ravalomanana, whose plane was prevented from landing when he attempted to return home recently, is seen by the AU as key to the return to political and constitutional order in Madagascar.

He was forced to cede power in 2009, following a seven-week revolt in the capital, led by Rajoelina’s supporters.

The military transferred power to the de facto leader Rajoelina, and the Courts quickly backed his efforts to consolidate power.

However, Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediators, who are leading the efforts to end the deadlock in Madagascar, have cancelled previously unilateral threats to arrest and detain former leaders for abuse of office.

Ravalomanana is reportedly being sought for trial over alleged abuse of powers and killings of protesters.

The Malagasy official said his country planned to question the “double-standard” with which the AU was acting on Madagascar, compared to the North African crisis.

“There cannot be two rules, where one rule applies for small countries and another applies for big countries. The situation in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are similar to those of Madagascar and the question we ask is why treat Madagascar like this,” he queried.

The AU has defended its stand on the revolt in the north African countries, justifying the Egyptian military takeover of power with the need to “consolidate democracy'', and saying the the Tunisian changeover was within the law.

However, the AU lifted its muted opposition to the new Libyan administration “under exceptional circumstances,” an action Madagascar insists was biased.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 27Jan2012

27 january 2012 08:10:19


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