Madagascar’s new president on Wednesday refused to allow ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana to return from exile, potentially derailing talks to end the island’s political crisis.
Andry Rajoelina issued his edict a day after Ravalomanana accused him of being in league with former colonial power France to enslave the Malagasy population.
Cross-party political talks, closely watched by foreign powers and investors in the Indian Ocean island’s mineral and hydrocarbon sectors, are set to resume later on Wednesday.
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Allies of Ravalomanana — who is in exile in South Africa — said they would boycott further negotiations if discussions did not begin paving the way for his return.
“The High Transitional Authority blocks the return of the former president, Marc Ravalomanana, to the country,” Rajoelina told reporters at the opening day of separate talks intended to heal deep divisions within the army.
“We will not sign any agreement allowing for his return.”
Ravalomanana accused France late on Tuesday of supporting Madagascar’s coup leaders, whom he described as bandits.
Ravalomanana’s allies have suggested French involvement in Rajoelina’s rise to power since the outset of the crisis, but this is the first time Ravalomanana has pointed a finger