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Madagascar Government Doesn’t Oppose Negotiations, Says Minister

Madagascar's transitional government has welcomed African Union calls for another round of negotiations to resolve the deepening political crisis.

The continental body announced Monday it would convene a third meeting of the International Contact Group, most likely on October 6, to address the crisis in the capital, Antananarivo.

The opposition, including several former presidents, wants a new format for the AU-backed negotiations.

A recent power-sharing agreement faltered after the former presidents accused President Andry Rajoelina of constituting a government of national unity without consulting them as part of the Maputo agreement.

Minister for Communications Augustin Andriamananoro said that Rajoelina is finding ways to end the political stalemate.

"The government is trying to preserve the popular choice…when we went to Maputo to negotiate with the former presidents and the African Union, we tried to protect the popular choice for the democracy," Andriamananoro said.

He said the government is open to other options to resolving the political crisis.

"Our President Mr. Andry Rajoelina is still finding another way how to define the solution about this political crisis," he said.

Andriamananoro said the administration is not against negotiating with the opposition.

"I think that we are trying to do our best. We are talking to those former presidents, but until now, it is not fit enough to give us the real solution," Andriamananoro said.

He said the government is seeking international intervention to help end the crisis.

"Now we are waiting for international help from the United Nations, from America, and from other countries to help Madagascar people to find a better way to resolve this political crisis," he said.

Last week the United Nations came under criticism for inviting President Rajoelina to this week's General Assembly meeting.

But Andriamananoro said the invitation should not be construed as recognition of President Rajoelina.

"The invitation I think doesn't mean international recognition. It means that we are taking part about the international decision, and it is a better way for the Madagascar people," Andriamananoro said.

Meanwhile, the continental body has warned embattled President Rajoelina about risking even stricter sanctions now that recent power-sharing efforts have failed.

The African Union suspended Madagascar as Rajoelina took over the country and former President Marc Ravalomanana was pressured to resign.

The AU described Rajoelina's ascension to power as a coup d'état.