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Mozambique’s Government to Sign Deal With Renamo to End Clashes

Mozambique’s government and the main opposition party will probably sign an agreement next week to end clashes in the central province of Sofala, leading negotiators from the two sides said.

An agreement may be signed on July 28, according to Transportation and Communications Minister Gabriel Muthisse and Simone Macuiane, a senior member of the former rebel Mozambique National Resistance movement, which is known as Renamo.

“We agreed yesterday on 95 percent of the issues we are dealing with to end clashes and bring the country to normal peace,” Macuiane said today in an interview at Parliament in the capital, Maputo. Muthisse said the talks are in “a good environment” and that the two sides were “finalizing details.”

An agreement would ease tensions between the two sides before general elections in October. Clashes between Renamo and state security forces disrupted public transportation in Sofala and the movement of coal by rail to the coast from mines owned by Rio Tinto Plc and Vale SA last year. At least eight civilians were killed last month in Renamo attacks on convoys escorted by military in Muxungue, a region crossed by the main road linking southern and northern Mozambique, according to the police.

Renamo, once backed by the white-minority governments of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, and South Africa, fought a 17-year civil war against the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique until signing a peace agreement in Rome in 1992. Renamo said in October that the peace agreement had ended after security forces attacked the party’s headquarters.

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