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Madagascar faces diplomatic isolation

world Updated: Mar 21, 2009 00:06 IST
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Madagascar faced international isolation Friday as the African Union suspended its membership and threatened sanctions, while the United States, France and Germany rallied behind the deposed president.

Washington called new president Andry Rajoelina's rise to power a "coup d'etat" and suspended its non-humanitarian aid to Antananarivo, while Nicolas Sarkozy, president of former colonial ruler France, called for fresh elections.

"This series of events is tantamount to a coup d'etat and the United States will not maintain our current assistance partnership with Madagascar," US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said, adding that it would suspend "all non-humanitarian assistance" to the Indian Ocean island.

Sarkozy told a news conference at the end of a two-day European Union summit in Brussels: "Of course it's a coup d'etat."

"I greatly regret what has happened in Madagascar and I call for elections as soon as possible, which is the only way out of this imbroglio."

Germany joined the condemnation of Marc Ravalomanana's toppling as president and called for a return to democracy, with the foreign ministry saying that street protests were not a democratic way to change the government.