May 15, 2009 / 6:47 PM / 9 years ago

Madagascar's head to meet AU chief despite bar

ANTANANARIVO, May 15 (Reuters) - Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina will meet African Union chief Muammar Gaddafi of Libya despite the continental body’s refusal to recognise the island’s army-backed leader, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

The 53-member body suspended the Indian Ocean island in March after Rajoelina took over from the elected leader with the help of renegade soldiers, and called the former disc jockey’s seizure of power "a coup".

"The president of the High Transitional Authority will make a three-day visit to Libya from (Saturday). He will meet the president of the African Union Muammar Gaddafi on his invitation," presidential spokeswoman Annik Rajaona told Reuters.

She gave no other details. It was unclear if the invitation signalled a shift in AU policy, or what would be discussed.

AU officials were not immediately available for comment.

Several donors including the International Monetary Fund have suspended non-emergency aid to Madagascar. Foreign leaders have called for quick elections to stop months of political instability. (Reporting by Alain Iloniaina, Writing by Jack Kimball, Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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