Madagascar's Ravalomanana to return home: spokesman

17th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Madagascar's ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, living in exile in South Africa, will go back to his country after an agreement was reached on his return, his spokesman said Saturday.

"The signing of the agreement allows for his return, so he will be returning," Patrick Gearing told AFP.

"The logistics for his return will start soon," said Gearing, without revealing a specific date.

On Saturday, Ravalomanana's grouping and that of Albert Zafy, another former Madagascan president, inked the deal that had already been signed by eight other political groups to resolve the island nation's protracted political crisis.

The agreement had faltered after a SADC June summit called for the unconditional return of Ravalomanana, a move rejected by Madagascar's strongman Andry Rajoelina.

Rajoelina, who seized power in March 2009 after an army-backed coup, agreed to Ravalomanana's return following lengthy negotiations.

In February, Ravalomanana attempted to fly back to Madagascar with his family but officials at a Johannesburg airport would not let them check in, saying they were "persons non grata in Madagascar".

The impoverished Indian Ocean island country has been gripped by political tensions since Ravalomanana's ouster, suspended from both the Southern African Democratic Community (SADC) and the African Union.

© 2011 AFP

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