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Madagascar - 2002-03-06

The director of political affairs of the Organization of African Unity, Sam Ibok, told VOA the organization wants to bring the Madagascar government and the opposition led by Marc Ravalomana together to negotiate a settlement.

Mr. Ibok says "the OAU sees the opposition leader’s actions as unconstitutional and supports dialogue, not unilateral action, to resolve the crisis." He adds "the OAU will not recognize any government that comes to power by unconstitutional means."

Mr. Ravalomanana declared himself president on February 22, saying he won the December election outright and does not need to take part in a runoff scheduled for later this month.

However, the country's Supreme Court says Mr. Ravalomanana did not receive more than the 50 percent of votes needed to win and insists the run-off must be held.

The OAU's Mr. Ibok says the organization is not taking sides on the issue, and he acknowledged there are grievances about the conduct of the recent elections. At the same time, he stresses the creation of rival governments will not help the situation. The goal of the OAU, he says, is to ensure Madagascar is not destabilized.