Madagascar leader rejects fresh talks on cabinet

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Madagascar’s embattled president rejected an invitation to meet his political rivals in Mozambique later this week to break a deadlock over the make-up of a power-sharing government.
 


Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a March coup, said reconvening the Indian Ocean nation’s leaders abroad once more would waste money, and suggested a video conference instead.
 
"The negotiations are over. We are now in the phase of implementing the agreements," Rajoelina told reporters.
 
The country’s three other political leaders have accepted the invitation to travel to Maputo from December 3-4 from the lead mediator, former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano.
 
Rajoelina and former presidents Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy signed a new power-sharing deal in Ethiopia earlier this month, a fresh attempt to end months of political turmoil in a country increasingly eyed by investors for its oil and mineral resources.
 
But they have failed to agree on who takes which cabinet posts.
 
Emmanuel Rakotovahiny, one of two co-presidents named under the Addis Ababa deal, said negotiations were stalled over 11 ministries, with Justice at the heart of the bickering.
 
The education and communication portfolios and the ministry of mines are also sources of conflict.
 
If the impasse holds, Rajoelina says the government he unilaterally set up in breach of an earlier deal brokered in August will remain in place.
 
Political crisis has rocked Madagascar since earlier this year when Rajoelina, a former disc jockey, unseated Ravalomanana with the help of dissident troops.
 
African nations and foreign donors say the establishment of a unity government and a roadmap to fresh elections are essential for the international community to re-engage with the diplomatically-isolated Indian Ocean Island.