Mozam­bique’s peace talks called off

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

MAPUTO — Peace talks be­tween Mozam­bique’s op­po­si­tion leader Afonso Dh­lakama and me­di­a­tors were called off at the week­end after fight­ing broke out be­tween the mil­i­tary and ex-rebel fight­ers, lo­cal me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day.

The meet­ing was part of ne­go­ti­a­tions that opened in May to end a sim­mer­ing con­flict be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the for­mer Re­n­amo rebel group.

“We had agreed (with Pres­i­dent Filipe Nyusi) that two me­di­a­tors would come . . . to meet me,” Dh­lakama told the in­de­pen­dent weekly Canal de Mo­cam­bique.

But Dh­lakama, who has been holed-up in the cen­tral Goron­gosa moun­tains for a year now, said the mil­i­tary in­creased its pres­ence near the venue of the meet­ing on the morn­ing of the talks. “There was a vi­o­lent shootout. I even heard the ex­plo­sions from here,” Dh­lakama said.

“So I called (chief me­di­a­tor Mario) Raf­faelli to tell him that armed forces had come to am­bush me.”

He said he was “con­vinced” that the rul­ing Fre­limo party “wanted to cap­ture me dur­ing the meet­ing”.

“It is ob­vi­ous they have a plan to kill me,” he added.

Raf­faelli, the Euro­pean Union-ap­pointed me­di­a­tor, de­clined to com­ment when con­tacted by AFP.

An EU diplo­mat, who asked not to be named, con­firmed to AFP that two me­di­a­tors had gone to Goron­gosa for a meet­ing with Dh­lakama.

“[But] Dh­lakama told them to turn back at the very last mo­ment,” said the diplo­mat.

A new round of peace talks re­sumed last week after they had been halted fol­low­ing the killing of the op­po­si­tion ne­go­tia­tors.

While both sides have agreed in prin­ci­ple to chang­ing the con­sti­tu­tion to al­low Re­n­amo fig­ures to be ap­pointed as pro­vin­cial gov­er­nors, the talks have yet to re­sult in a cease­fire.

Re­n­amo, which pre­vi­ously waged a 16-year civil war that ended in 1992, has re­fused to ac­cept the re­sults of 2014 elec­tions when it was beaten once more by the rul­ing Fre­limo party - in power since the for­mer Por­tuguese colony’s in­de­pen­dence 40 years ago.

Re­n­amo’s armed wing has in re­cent years staged a string of deadly at­tacks in cen­tral Mozam­bique as it fights to make its voice heard and to se­cure a greater share of power. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.