SADC leaders reject new Madagascar govt

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kinshasa - Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders have rejected the unilateral formation of the new government in Madagascar.

"The summit rejects and condemns in the strongest terms possible all unilateral decisions which violates the spirit of the Maputo accord.

"It reiterates its decision to suspend Madagascar from SADC till the re-establishment of constitutional order in that country," read the final SADC communiqu,.

The 29th SADC summit, which ended on Tuesday, also noted the efforts made to re-establish constitutional order in the Indian Ocean island state.

They praised the former Mozambican president and the SADC mediator, Joaquim Alberto Chissano for the political progress made in Madagascar, while rejecting any form of unilateral government.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Madagascan authority unilaterally announced the formation of a government in defiance of the opposition by other parties involved in the ongoing talks chaired by the SADC mediator.

Madagascan High Transitional Authority, led by former Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina, named the vice-president of transition to head the governing body of transitional congress and ministers.

Rajemison Rakotomaharo, former chairman of the Senate under former president Marc Ravalomanana, was appointed vice-president of the transition.

Jacques Sylla, former prime minister under Ravalomanana, was appointed president of the transitional congress.

Rajoelina took power following two months of violent protests that resulted in the ousting of President Marc Ravalomanana in March.

Rajoelina was declared president with the support of the military, a move that led to the country's suspension from the African Union (AU) and the 15-nation SADC.

The two-day summit also concluded with a common stand on climate change and an appeal for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

SADC leaders called on the international community to remove all forms of sanctions imposed on that country. The meeting also noted the progress made in the implementation of the political accord in Zimbabwe.

The summit covered a wide range of issues, including environmental challenges, regional integration, peace, security and the development of the 15-nation bloc.

According to the SADC communiqu,, environmental challenges include the fight against climatic change and the preservation of the forests of the Congo basin and its biodiversity.

To this end, Congolese President Joseph Kabila appealed to SADC member states and the AU to adopt a common position with the aim of defending the specific interests of the African continent in the area of climate change and global warming in the UN climate conference to be held in Copenhagen in December.

The SADC leaders also expressed their desire to help end the energy deficit which is affecting the southern Africa region, to promote regional trade, to develop infrastructure, security and food security, the promotion of women status, culture and sports and the promotion of tourism in the region.

In particular, they agreed to work together to consolidate peace and security, guarantee food security and help women to ascend to senior positions of decision making bodies.

At the summit, DRC President Kabila officially took over the SADC chair from his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma.

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, whose country will host the next summit, took over the post of the vice-president of the SADC.

While looking at the Lesotho situation, the summit also took note of the report submitted by the eminent person, former Botswana President Katumile Masire, congratulating him for the efforts he had made in the area of political dialogue after the post-election violence in Lesotho.

They also called on all the parties involved to start being engaged in the process.

The summit, among others, hailed the progress made in implementation of Maseru Declaration on the fight against AIDS, particularly in the area of mother-to-child HIV prevention and the availability of information on the usage of anti-retrovirals.

In order to achieve the universal target and alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS on the socio-economic development and regional integration, the summit called on the member states to accelerate their efforts to implement the Maseru Declaration.