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Mozambican President Says Peace Deal to Hold for October Vote

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Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Mozambican President Armando Guebuza said the opposition will probably uphold an agreement to end hostilities before October elections.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama’s commitment to take part in the elections sent a signal to his followers to end fighting in the southern African nation, Guebuza said today in Washington during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Dhlakama registering as a presidential candidate is a positive step, he said. Renamo fought a 17-year civil war against Guebuza’s party that ended in 1992.

“Yes, I want to believe that from what I saw in terms of their registering for parliament” that Renamo will respect the peace agreement, he said.

Renamo killed at least eight civilians in June in attacks on convoys escorted by the army, a continuation of months of violence between the militant supporters of the party and government troops focused mainly in the central province of Sofala. The clashes have at times disrupted transport, including the movement of coal by rail to the coast from mines owned by Rio Tinto Plc and Vale SA last year.

Mozambique is home to one of the biggest natural gas discoveries in a decade. Eni SpA and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. have exploration and production contracts in the offshore Rovuma Basin.

The agreement will allow senior Renamo military officials to retain their arms as part of the national army, Joseph Hanlon, a senior lecturer at the U.K.’s Open University and author of several books on the country, said in an e-mailed report on July 25.

Renamo, once backed by the white-minority governments of Rhodesia, which is now known as Zimbabwe, and South Africa, fought against the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique until signing a peace agreement in Rome in 1992. Renamo last year said an attack by security forces on its headquarters had breached the peace deal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Franz Wild in Johannesburg at fwild@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Andres R. Martinez, Gordon Bell

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