An international contact group on Madagascar has warned the rulers of Madagascar that "necessary steps," including sanctions, will be implemented if the impasse over returning the country to constitutional rule fails.
In a statement released in Addis Ababa, the African Union noted that the current administration was the only party which had not accepted proposals to settle the country's political crisis. The full text of the statement follows:
1. At the initiative of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Mr. Jean Ping, and as part of efforts relating to the process of ending the crisis in Madagascar, the International Contact Group on Madagascar (ICG-M) held its 5th meeting in Addis Ababa, on 18 February 2010, under the aegis of the AU.
In addition to the AU, the meeting brought together representatives of the following organizations and countries: Indian Ocean Commission (IOC); United Nations; International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF); Southern African Development Community – SADC (through the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC, in its capacity as the country chairing SADC, Mozambique, the country chairing the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, and SADC Secretariat); and European Union (EU).
Malawi, in its capacity as the country chairing the AU, and Uganda, as the country chairing the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU for the month of February 2010 and as a non-permanent African member of the United Nations Security Council, as well as Gabon and Nigeria, as African members of the UN Security Council and the permanent members of this organ also took part in the meeting. Germany and Japan, as partners of Madagascar, also took part in the meeting. President Joaquim Chissano, Head of the SADC Mediation Team, took part in the discussions.
2. The Group reviewed the situation in Madagascar since its 4th meeting held in Addis Ababa on 6 January 2010. In this regard, and in line with the relevant provisions of the Communiqué of the 4th meeting of the ICG-M, the AU Commission briefed the participants on the mission undertaken to Antananarivo, on 21 and 22 January 2010, by the Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, with a delegation comprising representatives of the ICGM, in order to submit to the Malagasy parties proposals for compromise solutions to make it possible to re-launch the implementation process of the Maputo Agreements of 8 and 9 August 2009 and of the Addis Ababa Additional Act of 6 November 2009.
The Group recalled that these proposals were developed by an expert group of the ICG-M, following a meeting held in Addis Ababa on 19 January 2010. The Commission also informed the ICG-M of the decisions on the situation in Madagascar as adopted by the 14th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, held in Addis Ababa from 31 January to 2 February 2010.
3. The Group was also briefed by President Joaquim Chissano, Head of SADC Mediation Team, who informed the participants of his interactions with the Malagasy parties and other related developments.
4. The Group reviewed the responses provided by the Malagasy parties to the proposals for compromise solutions submitted to them. The Group noted that the Ratsiraka, Ravalomanana and Zafy camps have expressed their general agreement with these proposals.
The Group noted the dialogue established between the Mediation and the Rajoelina camp, whose reaction is not fully consistent with the proposals for compromise solutions submitted by the Chairperson of the Commission, and urged it to cooperate towards the speedy implementation of the Maputo Agreements of 8 and 9 August 2009 and the Addis Ababa Additional Act of 6 November 2009.
5. The participants reaffirmed the full support of their respective organizations and countries to the Maputo Agreements of 8 and 9 August 2009 and the Addis Ababa Additional Act of 6 November 2009, which were negotiated and signed by the four political camps of Madagascar and which constitute the basis for any solution to the crisis in Madagascar.
The Group also reaffirmed its support for the proposals for compromise solutions submitted by the Chairperson of the Commission. The Group rejected any unilateral step, stressed the imperative to adhere to the consensual solution to the crisis and, once again, urged the Malagasy parties to come back to the negotiating table and to make the necessary concessions for the implementation of the above-mentioned Agreements, thereby placing the higher interests of their country and their people over any other consideration.
6. The Group regretted that the efforts deployed by the AU, with the support of its international partners, even though they made it possible to resume the dialogue, have not yet allowed the re-launching of the process for a way out of the crisis. In this context, the Group encouraged the Chairperson of the Commission, working closely with the Head of the SADC Mediation Team, to pursue, through the most appropriate modalities and in the shortest time possible, the efforts already initiated to overcome the current impasse on the basis of the proposals for compromise solutions that he has submitted.
7. The Group noted that, should the present impasse persist, Organizations and countries will, within the coming weeks, take the necessary steps, including further sanctions, against all those who impede the process of restoring constitutional order, on the basis of their respective relevant legal instruments and practice.
In this regard, the Commission informed the members of the Contact Group that the AU PSC will meet on 19 February 2010, to review the situation in Madagascar and take the necessary measures in light of AU instruments, including the Lomé Declaration and decision Assembly/AU/ Dec.269 (XIV) Rev.1 on the prevention of unconstitutional changes of Government and strengthening of the AU capacity to manage such situations, adopted by the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union.
8. The members of the International Contact Group on Madagascar agreed to continue working together under the auspices of the AU, and in support of its efforts and those of President Chissano, in order to promote the rapid return to constitutional order in Madagascar.
Addis Ababa, 18 February 2010