Mozambican Leader Agrees to Foreign Mediation, Renamo Says

  • Opposition suggests EU, South African and Catholic arbitrators
  • President spoke with opposition twice by phone, Renamo says

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and the main opposition party’s leader spoke this week and agreed to include international mediators in negotiations to end violence that’s killed hundreds of people since 2013, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama said.

“We have agreed on finding solutions as Mozambicans as guns will never solve our problems,” Dhlakama told reporters by phone. “The government, as you know, was refusing international mediation, but we insisted on this. Finally, he understood it was necessary to have the presence of international mediators.”

Dhlakama said he reiterated his request for arbitration by the European Union, South Africa and Catholic Church during two phone conversations with Nyusi earlier this week. A physical meeting will take place after a deal is reached with the help of international mediators, he said.

Renamo resumed an insurgency against the government in 2013, two decades after it ended a civil war against the country’s ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique. The latest round of conflict has left more than 300 people dead, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a project run by the University of Sussex in the U.K. that draws statistics from reports by the media, humanitarian agencies and other groups.

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.

Dhlakama said he couldn’t commit to an end of fighting between Renamo militia and government troops in the meantime. 

“I can’t promise a lateral cease-fire while the government troops keep hunting,” he said.

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