Madagascar's political rivals agree to talk

Efforts by the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Haile Menkerios, to broker a peaceful resolution to Madagascar's political standoff are beginning to bear fruit.



"Both parties - [former] Mayor [of Antananarivo, Andry] Rajoelina and President [Marc] Ravalomanana - have accepted to go for dialogue," Zoe Rasoaniana, Information Officer at the UN Information Centre in the capital, Antananarivo, told IRIN.



Menkerios was dispatched to the Indian Ocean Island by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week, in the wake of political demonstrations that turned violent and have already left some 130 people dead. Rajoelina and Ravalomanana have been openly averse to the idea of holding negotiations but individual meetings between Menkerios and both men on 9 February seem to have opened the door to dialogue.



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