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Military Urges Madagascar Reconciliation - 2002-03-19

A top military official in Madagascar is urging the heads of the island nation's rival governments to end the country's increasingly violent political crisis.

General Leon-Claude Raveloarison is the military governor of Antananarivo, the capital. He told V-O-A (Tuesday) he hopes Presdent Didier Ratsiraka will soon meet self-declared head of state Marc Ravalomanana.

General Raveloarison says Mr. Ravalomanana, the capital's mayor, has agreed to such a meeting in principle. There has been no answer yet from the president, who in recent weeks has relocated his government to the coastal town of Toamasina.

The general did not say what the military will do if such a meeting does not occur.

Mr. Ravalomanana declared himself president February 22nd. His supporters took over the capital after he accused the government of fraud in the December presidential election. However, the international community has refused to recognize the attempted takover.

At least eight people have died in political clashes.

(F-to-A advisory)