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Madagascar Mediators Mull Sanctions on Rajoelina Movement

International mediators on Madagascar are threatening to increase pressure on President Andry Rajoelina's government unless he honors two previous power-sharing accords. Sanctions will be on the agenda Friday when the African Union's Peace and Security Council takes up Madagascar's case.

An international contact group on Madagascar Thursday expressed irritation at President Andry Rajoelina's refusal to live up to power sharing agreements signed last year in Maputo and Addis Ababa. The chief mediator, former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said contact group members agreed to step up pressure on the former disc jockey who led a movement that seized power in a coup 11 months ago.

"There was a convergence of points of view showing dissatisfaction of the participants for a not sufficient cooperation of the Mouvance to reach a consensus, particularly the Mouvance Rajoelina, and they urged the Mouvance Rajoelina to do more efforts to comply with the Maputo Agreement and the Addis Ababa additional act," said Joaquim Chissano.

Mr. Chissano will brief the African Union Peace and Security Council Friday before embarking on a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy among Madagascar's four main political movements.

The African Union automatically suspended Madagascar's membership when the coup took place. AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra suggested the further threat of economic sanctions might be necessary to bring the Rajoelina movement back to the negotiating table.

"If it is decided to adopt further sanctions, it doesn't mean that would stop the mediation process," said Ramtane Lamamra. "Judging from past experience, you could impose sanctions on a certain date, because certain responses were not obtained from the perpetrators of the coup."

Mr. Chissano, who is mediating on behalf of the southern African regional group SADC noted the European Union has already suspended $700 million of aid to Madagascar in the wake of the Rajoelina-led coup. He says it is time for Africa to consider economic sanctions.

"Madagascar is already under sanctions,'s now to have additional ones, and all the exercises we are doing now is to help Madagascar come out from the sanctions as soon as possible," he said. "The best would be for themselves to avoid additional sanctions because it is clear the mood of the international community is toward sanctions."

The former Mozambican leader's mediation work is being joined by similar diplomatic efforts from the European Union, the French-speaking countries of Africa, and the United Nations.