Rajoelina must leave

MBABANE - SADC was expected to suspend Madagascar after its new president was forced from office earlier this month.

MBABANE - SADC was expected to suspend Madagascar after its new president was forced from office earlier this month.

SADC heads of state gathering yesterday for a summit in Swaziland were also due to discuss Zimbabwe's economic recovery, with some member states calling for an end to Western sanctions.

Madagascar's former president Marc Ravalomanana, who resigned following pressure from the military and new leader Andry Rajoelina, was expected to brief SADC leaders before they decide how to deal with the new government.

On Sunday, delegates at a foreign ministers' meeting suggested Madagascar could be suspended from SADC and urged early elections.

This stance could further isolate former disc jockey Rajoelina who assumed power in a move condemned as a coup by the international community.

The African Union suspended the Indian Ocean island on March 20, giving the new administration six months to call an election as provided for by the constitution. Rajoelina has set a 24-month transition.

Also under discussion was building support for Zimbabwe's economic recovery. South Africa, the current SADC chairman, has offered a credit line to support its neighbour.

While other SADC countries lack the means to offer funding, they will likely agree to urge Western states to remove sanctions imposed over policy differences with President Robert Mugabe.

South Africa's foreign affairs ministry said the summit would receive a report "on how to help Zimbabwe extricate itself from its current economic challenges". - Reuters

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