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1. At the initiative of Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, and as part of the efforts to accelerate the resolution of the crisis facing Madagascar, the International Contact Group on Madagascar (ICG-M) held its 8th meeting in Addis Ababa on 6 September 2013, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security , and in the presence of the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr Aicha L. Abdullahi, as well as former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Mediator of the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) in the Malagasy crisis, and the Chair of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of September 2013, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to the AU.

2. In addition to the AU Commission, the meeting brought together the representatives of the following countries and organizations: Ethiopia, in its capacity as Chair of the AU; the PSC Troika (Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire and Djibouti) and other Member States (Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa), Malawi, as Chair of SADC; Namibia, as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security; African members and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Rwanda, Togo, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States), other partners of Madagascar, namely Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the United Nations Secretariat, the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and the European Union (EU).

3. The discussions were held in the light of the : (a) briefings provided by the SADC Mediator in the Malagasy crisis and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security on the follow-up to the conclusions of the 7th meeting of the ICG -M, held in Addis Ababa, on 26 June 2013, including the missions undertaken to Madagascar from 9 to 13 July, 1 to 2 August and on 21 August 2013, and the interactions with the Malagasy stakeholders; (b) communiqué of the 394th meeting of the PSC, held on 5 September 2013; and (c) additional information provided by other members of the Group.

4. Having reviewed the evolution of the situation in Madagascar since its 7th meeting, the Group welcomed the positive developments in Madagascar. In particular, the Group noted the restructuring of the Special Electoral Court (CES); the removal, by the new CES, of the illegal candidacies from the list of candidates for the presidential election; the publication, by the CES, of a final list of 33 candidates who meet the legal requirements to stand in the presidential election; and the adoption by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the Transition (CENI-T), jointly with representatives of the United Nations, of a revised calendar for the holding of the forthcoming elections, scheduling the 1st round of the presidential election on 25 October 2013, and a possible 2nd round on 20 December 2013, together with legislative elections. The Group acknowledged the crucial role of the President of the Transition, Andry Rajoelina, and commended him for his commitment to re-launch the crisis exit process. The Group also commended the other concerned stakeholders for their contributions, including acceptance of the CES decisions.
5. The Group urged all Malagasy political and social stakeholders to sustain the current momentum, particularly by maintaining peace and stability and upholding the spirit of tolerance and national reconciliation, to ensure the successful conduct of the presidential and legislative elections, which would complete the restoration of constitutional order. The Group also urged the President of the Transition and the entire Transitional Government of National Unity to continue to implement the Roadmap for ending the crisis in Madagascar and to remain neutral throughout the electoral process. Furthermore, the Group encouraged all political camps and groupings to consider participating in the forthcoming legislative elections, in order to enhance pluralism in the Parliament that will be elected on 20 December 2013.

6. The Group strongly warned all the Malagasy stakeholders who may be tempted to hinder the ongoing process and undermine the significant progress achieved to date as a result of sustained efforts. Aware of the negative repercussions of such acts on the process to end the crisis, the Group supported the determination of the AU and SADC to impose appropriate sanctions against spoilers.

7. The Group welcomed communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CCCXCIV) adopted by the PSC at its 394th meeting. In this regard, the Group noted the decision to immediately lift the targeted sanctions against 109 Malagasy political personalities, including President Andry Rajoelina, and urged its members to support the implementation of all the provisions contained therein.

8. The Group encouraged its members and the international community as a whole to provide all the necessary financial, logistical and technical support to the ongoing process, in order to facilitate the holding of free, transparent, fair, peaceful and credible elections. In this regard, the Group welcomed the resumption, by some of the main partners of Madagascar, of their assistance to the electoral process. The Group also urged all international actors concerned to make the necessary arrangements for the deployment of both long and short terms electoral observation missions, highlighting the need for continued vigilance to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. Furthermore, the Group stressed the need to provide logistical and capacity building support to the Malagasy security forces, to enable them adequately secure the electoral process.

9. Bearing in mind the problems arising from this year’s poor rice crop and the locust invasion, the resulting food insecurity and the impact this situation could have on the conduct of the electoral process, the Group appealed to its members and to the entire international community to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Madagascar. At the same time, the Group stressed the need for a strong and sustained engagement of the international community to support the socio-economic recovery of Madagascar, in order to consolidate the gains made following the resolution of the crisis.

10. The members of the International Contact Group on Madagascar agreed to continue working together within the framework of the ICG-M chaired by the AU in support of the efforts to promote an early resolution of the crisis and return to constitutional order in Madagascar. They agreed to meet as regularly as possible, ahead and after the elections, and to look at arrangements for the pursuit of the support of the international community to Madagascar following the restoration of constitutional order.

Posted by Tchioffo Kodjo

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