Mozambique: Contact Group Believes Peace Has Come to Stay

Photo: GCIS
At the signing of the peace deal on August 7, 2019, from left, President Filipe Nyusi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Renamo leader Ossufo Momade and European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

Maputo — The Swiss ambassador to Mozambique, Mirko Manzoni, who is the chairperson of the international Contact Group, which facilitated the peace agreement signed on Tuesday between the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo, declared his confidence that this time the country will not slip back into war.

Addressing the signing ceremony in Maputo, Manzoni warned, however, that building peace can be more difficult than waging war.

"Often two parties reach an agreement on paper, but then fail to put it into practice", he admitted, "but this time it should and will be different".

Manzoni, who is also the special envoy of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said the international community should be fully committed to Mozambique during the difficult period of reconciliation and of integrating former members of the Renamo militia into society.

He said this peace had been made between Mozambicans and for Mozambicans, "and so I believe it will prosper and resist since it represents a rupture with the past". The signing ceremony, he added, was not an end but the beginning of a new era for Mozambique.

"In building a culture of peace and dialogue, we shall guarantee a brilliant future for our children and for all Mozambicans", Manzoni declared."Peace is not just a signature, peace needs to be built day after day".

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, confirmed that the EU has a fund of 60 million euros (about 67 million US dollars) available to support implementation of the Mozambican peace agreement.

"We want to accompany and follow decentralisation", she said. "We want to promote reconciliation and we want to guarantee that each citizen has something to gain from peace. Only thus will it be possible to guarantee that you and we have a definitive peace".

She admitted that guaranteeing peace is a very difficult exercise, but it is much better than managing conflicts.

She cited the case of Europe, which was ravaged by successive wars for many centuries, "but when our ancestors discovered that it was better to make peace than to wage war, Europe became what it is today, a land of peace and prosperity".

"Today, you can count on the European Union for the construction of peace", she pledged, "because peace is not just a matter of signing papers. It is not just the absence of war. It is a project that must be built every day".

The EU, she added, was also committed to helping Mozambique mitigate the impact of the two cyclones that hit the country in March and April. "We have already mobilised a million euros for these areas", Mogherini said. "You can count on us. We shall be with you in these challenges".

She added that the EU will send an observer mission to cover the 15 October general elections, from start to finish. "We will do this because we know that democracy is an important part of this agreement", she said.

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