Southern African countries refused on Thursday to recognise Madagascar’s youthful new leader Andry Rajoelina and urged the international community and African Union to reject him too.

The political unrest on the Indian Ocean island has killed at least 135 people, devastated the $390 million-a-year tourism sector and worried multinationals with investments in its fast-developing mining and oil industries.

Mozambique, Angola and Swaziland, which make up the defence, political and security troika of regional grouping SADC, which includes Madagascar, called at the end of a mini-summit in Swaziland for democracy to be restored.

“SADC does not and cannot recognise Mr Rajoelina as president … because his appointment not only violates the constitution of Madagascar and democratic principles, but violates the core principles and Treaty of SADC, the African Union and the United Nations Charters,” it said in a statement.

Earlier on Thursday, Norway said an aid freeze imposed this week remained in force under the new government of Rajoelina, whose rise to power has drawn international disapproval.



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