A Closer Look:
Facilitating Dialogue in Madagascar
We recently wrote about the UN’s efforts, working alongside regional and international partners, to help Madagascar overcome the ongoing political crisis in the country. These efforts revolve around the work of a newly-named Special Adviser of the Secretary-General, Abdoulaye Bathily. Mr. Bathily, a distinguished diplomat and academic who formerly headed the UN’s regional office for Central Africa (UNOCA), traveled to Madagascar from 6 to 16 May to facilitate a national process to foster dialogue among the country’s main political players, including President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and former Presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. Now back from Antananarivo, Mr. Bathily spoke about his visit to the country and where the facilitation process stands now.
Mr Bathily, do you consider that you accomplished what you set out to do during this visit?
Abdoulaye Bathily: This mission supported the facilitation of a Malagasy process to foster dialogue among the political main stakeholders in order to create a conducive and peaceful environment for elections in line with the Constitution. I think we had a successful coordination of the international community -- between the UN, African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and European Union (EU) -– which allowed us to send a strong unified message for peaceful and credible elections, as well as for the respect of constitutional rule.
What is your assessment of the current situation in Madagascar?
I believe that despite the challenges the country’s facing and the concerns expressed by the stakeholders, the parties in the facilitation made progress in identifying constructive proposals. These exchanges have led to a shared desire to conclude a political agreement for a way out of the crisis, to restore a climate of peace and serenity to allow the organization of free and transparent elections within the constitutional framework.
I detected a willingness on the part of the Malagasy actors to resume the dialogue with a view to finding a solution acceptable to all in this crisis, in the interest of the people. I consistently encouraged them to continue their efforts to successfully complete the initiatives.
Will you be returning to Madagascar? When?
I’ll continue to be closely engaged both with key players on the ground and the regional organizations to facilitate peaceful solutions to the political and electoral disputes in Madagascar. I will return to Madagascar as and when necessary.
Title Picture: Special Adviser Bathily with Malagasy President Hery Rajaonarimampianina