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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
New Madagascar head outlines plan
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin shakes hands with President Ravalomanana
France recognised Ravalomanana as new leader
Madagascar's new President, Marc Ravalomanana, has said his main priorities are to establish the security of the country and to develop the economy.


The first priority for me is to [achieve] security in the country - then we improve our economic situation

President Ravalomanana
In a BBC interview, the new leader, who has been recognised by the island's former colonial power, France, said he was not immediately concerned about the refusal of the Organisation of African Unity to recognise his leadership.

He said he felt the organisation would re-consider its position as time went on.

Mr Ravalomanana was speaking after the former President, Didier Ratsiraka, flew out of the island with his family after a bloody, seven-month power struggle.

He has since arrived in the Seychelles and is thought to be on his way to France.

No deal

Mr Ravalomanana told the BBC no deal had been struck with France to take in Mr Ratsiraka and end the stand-off.

Mr Ratsiraka made a trip to France last month, also prompting speculation that he was going into exile. However, he returned.

Mr Ravalomanana said those responsible for harassing civilians during the six-month struggle for the leadership of the island of 16 million would be brought to justice.

"Everyone should know that all those responsible for extortion and other terrorist acts will be pursued wherever they are found," he said.

Following elections in December last year, neither man accepted defeat and the Indian Ocean island nation was divided with two capitals and two governments.

Scores of people have been killed in bitter fighting between rival supporters, but Mr Ratsiraka's power had been ebbing in recent weeks.

The United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, and most recently France, have all recognised Mr Ravalomanana as president.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Matt Prodger
"The president says he wants to get on with running the country"
The BBC's Jonny Donovan
"According to diplomatic sources, this is a trip into exile"

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03 Jul 02 | Africa
01 Jul 02 | Africa
27 Jun 02 | Africa
26 Jun 02 | Africa
25 Jun 02 | Africa
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