UN chief deplores violence in Madagascar

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Sunday deplored a new round of violence in Madagascar, which reportedly left at least 25 people killed and dozens injured, and urged the Malagasy authorities to bring those responsible to justice, Xinhua reported.
Ban, in a statement issued here by his spokesperson, said that he "deplores the violence and lack of restraint on all sides that led to this tragedy."
The secretary-general described the Saturday violence in Madagascar as "tragic events," and extended his "deep condolences to the Malagasy people."
"The secretary-general urges the Malagasy authorities to urgently initiate a fair process by which those responsible will be brought to justice," the statement said.
"The secretary-general calls upon all concerned parties to resolve their differences through peaceful and democratic means and through the exercise of responsible leadership," the statement said.
"The secretary-general stands ready to provide all the necessary support for the rapid and peaceful solution of this crisis," the statement added.
Ban said on Thursday that "at the invitation of the government of Madagascar, he is dispatching Haile Menkerios, assistant secretary-general for political affairs, to assess the situation in the country and explore what the United Nations could do to help avert further violence and contribute toward peace and stability in Madagascar."
Menkerios is currently in Madagascar on a visit that runs through Feb. 10, and he is expected to hold meetings with government officials and others concerned, according to an earlier UN statement.
Soldiers opened fire on anti-government protesters on Saturday near the presidential palace in the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, and at least 25 people were killed in the violence, reports said.



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