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    Russia calls for restoration of order in Madagascar

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    Russia hopes for the swift restoration of the rule of law in Madagascar after opposition leader Andry Rajoelina took power following military intervention, the Foreign Ministry said

    MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia hopes for the swift restoration of the rule of law in Madagascar after opposition leader Andry Rajoelina took power following military intervention, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

    "The development of the events in Madagascar has brought great concern," the statement on the ministry's official web site reads. "In support of the corresponding principled position of the African Union, Moscow hopes for a rapid renewal of order and law in the country and the return to the constitutional norms that are inherent to the fundamental interests of the Malagasy people."

    Rajoelina, until last month the mayor of the country's capital, Antananarivo, was installed as head of an interim government on Tuesday hours after President Marc Ravalomanana resigned under pressure from the armed forces.

    The 34-year-old former disc jockey, who in January accused Ravalomanana of being a dictator, has promised to hold constitutional presidential elections within two years.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his visiting Nigerian counterpart, Ojo Maduekwe, called on Tuesday for the normalization of the situation in Madagascar.

    "We hope these attempts will stop and efforts will be made to bring the situation back to the constitutional framework," Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.

    Maduekwe called the forces that had taken over the presidential palace in Madagascar "illegal and unconstitutional," and said their actions were "unacceptable."

    "We insist on and call for a restoration of constitutional order in Madagascar," he added.

    The island nation off southeast Africa had been in a political stalemate since December when Ravalomanana ordered to shut down radio and television stations owned by Rajoelina.

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