Tuesday, September 29, 2009

General Assembly chief defends inviting Madagascar to speak at debate

Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- When General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki invited Madagascar's delegation to speak at the annual debate, he was only following United Nations rules, said his spokesperson here on Monday.

"We have to limit and clarify the matter," Jean-Victor Nkolo told reporters. "He implemented rules and procedures in light with the advice that he had received from the legal council of the United Nations."

The ruling president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, was supposed to speak Friday evening at the 64th General Assembly debate when a group of African countries blocked him from taking the podium.

Foreign Ministers of the Democratic Republic of Congo Alexis Mwamba intervened on the behalf of the South African Development Community (SADC). Evoking Article 71 and 113 of the General Assembly rules of procedure, he voiced concern that Rajoelina had been invited and called on countries to walk out of the GA chamber if he was allowed to speak.

Both the SADC -- a loose alliance of nine countries in Southern Africa -- and the African Union do not recognize the Malagasy government of Rajoelina that came to power in a coup d'etat in March.

The motion to prevent Rajoelina from addressing the GA debate was carried by a vote which led to most member states abstaining.

Prime Minister Monja Roindefo said he would write a letter of protest to the UN headquarters, according to a local media report.

"Madagascar was invited and had the right to talk. Unfortunately, a minority of African countries objected and we were denied this right," he told Viva Radio.