Government/Renamo talks resume but no progress

Maputo (AIM) – Internationally mediated talks to end the war waged by the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo resumed on Monday, but there were no signs of progress.

Source: Government/Renamo talks resume but no progress – The Zimbabwean 14.09.2016

The talks, beginning in a Maputo hotel in the late afternoon, lasted for about four hours, but the government and Renamo delegations did not sit at the same table. Instead the mediators met with each delegation separately.

When the coordinator of the mediating team, the Italian Mario Raffaelli, met with reporters, he merely said there had been “an initial discussion” with the two sides.

“I have nothing to say”, he added. The mediators would work with the two sides, but he could not say when the next meeting would be held. Raffaelli refused to take any questions from the reporters.

The mediators are attempting to arrange a cessation of hostilities, but Renamo has not budged from its position of August that the government must withdraw its forces from the Gorongosa mountain range, near the bush camp where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has his headquarters.

Renamo was not offering to withdraw its own forces from anywhere, and the government pointed out that it had the responsibility to protect the population of Gorongosa from Renamo attacks.

Renamo did not even accept the mediators’ proposal for a demilitarized corridor in Sofala province, which would allow the mediators access to Dhlakama’s camp. To date there have been no face-to-face meetings between Dhlakama and the mediators.

There were changes in the government delegation for the Monday talks. President Filipe Nyusi has withdrawn from the government team the two parliamentarians Edmundo Galiza-Matos Junior (spokesperson for the parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party) and Antonio Hama Thai (who is also a former chief of staff of the armed forces). Nyusi has replaced them with two jurists, Antonio Boene and Eduardo Chiziane.