22 March 2014

Mozambique: Government and Renamo Military Experts Meet

Photo: J. Jackson/VOA
Renamo rebels being re-trained for combat at a remote bush camp near Gorongosa mountains (file photo).

Maputo — The commission of military experts set up by the Mozambican government and by the former rebel movement Renamo met on Thursday and Friday in an attempt to agree upon the terms for “foreign mediation” in arranging a cessation of hostilities in those parts of the central province of Sofala that have been the scene of attacks by Renamo gunmen.

Cited by Radio Mozambique, the head of the government military team, Brigadier Julio Jane, said there had been “significant advances” in the discussions.

“We began the discussions on Thursday and there have been significant advances”, he said. “We didn't manage to finish the work and we are continuing to discuss today (Friday). Everything indicates that we shall finish. The atmosphere is good, and there is an interest on both sides in seeing the document concluded as quickly as possible, so that it can be submitted to the session of the government-Renamo dialogue next Monday”.

The head of the Renamo team, Ossufo Momade, who is a former Renamo general secretary, also thought that the terms of reference for the foreign involvement could be concluded in time to go before the Monday meeting.

The government had demanded the immediate and unconditional disarming of Renamo. But the head of the Renamo delegation to the dialogue, Saimone Macuiana, had insisted on the involvement of foreign organizations. He had specifically mentioned the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the European Union, the United States, South Africa, Italy, Portugal and Zimbabwe, though it was not clear whether Renamo had approached any of these countries and organizations.

The government had conceded this point to Renamo, speaking of “foreign observers” to the discussions over a cessation of hostilities.

This issue has simply postponed an end to the hostilities, and to date not a single Renamo gunman has been disarmed.

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