Peace talks between Mozambique’s government and the opposition were suspended as the two sides failed to agree a cease-fire to end fighting that’s killed hundreds of people.
International mediators want to hold talks with President Filipe Nyusi before negotiations resume Sept. 12, Mario Raffaelli, the coordinator of an international mediation team, told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Maputo. He appealed to both sides to “refrain from all violent actions to relieve the suffering of the Mozambican people.”
Renamo had sought a withdrawal of government forces from around Gorongosa National Park, where the opposition group’s leader, Afonso Dhlakama, is believed to be hiding, before agreeing to a truce, Raffaelli said. Government forces have declined to withdraw from the area because they are protecting people and property, he said.
The two sides have been holding stop-start talks aimed at ending a conflict that resumed in 2013. The violence has threatened transport links for mining companies in the coal-producing nation and slowed down trucks headed to neighboring countries hauling merchandise that’s imported through Mozambican ports.
Considered a success story since a 16-year war ended in 1992 and the discovery of one of the world’s biggest gas fields, Mozambique is now also struggling with a debt crisis.