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SADC suspends Madagascar's membership
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2009-03-31 10:11

The Souther African Development Community (SADC) suspended Madagascar from the regional grouping on Monday, according to reports of agencies.

The SADC said in a communique after a summit in Swaziland's capital Mbabane that southern African leaders would not recognize Andry Rajoelina, who took over the presidency of Madagascar.

"The extraordinary summit suspends Madagascar from all community institutions and organs until the return of the country to constitutional order," SADC executive director Tomaz Salomao said.

Marc Ravalomanana, former Madagascar's President, briefed the summit on the political crisis in the Indian Ocean island country.

The African Union (AU) decided on March 20 to suspend Madagascar's membership, denouncing the change in the government there as a coup, and gave the island country six months to hold a general election.

Ravalomanana on March 17 stepped down and handed power to the military, which in turn transferred power to then opposition leader Rajoelina, who had led months of protests.

The main decision-making committee of the SADC on March 19 urged the AU and the international community not to recognize Andry Rajoelina as Madagascar's president and called for a return to "democratic and constitutional rule in the shortest time possible."

At the meeting in Swaziland on March 19, the SADC leaders said that if Rajoelina refuses to relinquish power to Marc Ravalomanana, the bloc would recommend imposing sanctions.

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