The leader of Mozambique’s armed opposition party, Renamo, and the country’s President have agreed a two-month extension to the truce that will last until 4 May 2017, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama announced on Friday.
Addressing a press conference in Maputo by telephone from his base in Gorongosa, Sofala province, Dhlakama said he hoped the next 60 days would see “serious negotiations” that should result in a legislative proposal to parliament over the decentralisation of state administration.
President Filipe Nyusi and the leader of Renamo have agreed to create two working groups, one to discuss decentralisation, and one to discuss military issues – namely the integration of Renamo’s residual armed forces and the sharing of top positions in the military, as initially agreed in the 1992 peace accord that brought an end to the 16-year civil war.
The two working groups will each feature two members from each party, and two international specialists – one nominated by each side. They will also, Dhlakama said, have a seventh member – being “a figure of merit recognised on the international level.”
Earlier this week, President Nyusi held the first meeting with the first two international experts to arrive – Swiss military affairs specialist Julian Hottinger, and Zambian constitutional lawyer and UN Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani. Zitamar News understands that while Nyusi and Dhlakama agreed jointly to invite Hottinger, Dhlakama will invite his own specialist on decentralisation to work alongside Beyani who was chosen by Nyusi.
The two groups will be assisted by a ‘contact group’ of seven ambassadors, including those of China, the US, and the EU, led by the Swiss ambassador, Mirko Manzoni. The group, Dhlakama explained, will help finance the process and will also have the role of pressuring the two sides to reach agreement swiftly – given that “they won’t want to waste time and money on a process without results.”
Friday’s announcement marks the second time the truce has been extended since it was first announced on 27 December 2017. Initially a seven-day truce, it was extended on 3 January until today, 3 March.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário told a press briefing that President Nyusi is “working tirelessly” to “transform the truce into definitive peace…[so that]Mozambique does not live from truce to truce.”
At Friday’s press conference, however, Dhlakama denounced violations of the truce by government forces, insisting that if Renamo’s forces had not been disciplined, Mozambique would again be in a state of conflict.
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© 2017, Zitamar Ltd. Reproduction and dissemination prohibited without written permission.