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Mozambique’s government resumes peace talks with Renamo leader

Mozambican President and ruling party FRELIMO (Mozambican Liberation Front) leader Filipe Nyusi (L) poses with RENAMO (Mozambican National Resistence) leader Ossufo Momad during their meeting on February 27, 2019 in Maputo. (Photo by ROBERTO MATCHISSA / AFP)

Mozambique’s president and leader of the main opposition Renamo held peace talks on Wednesday, reviewing efforts to integrate former rebels into the police and army, the presidency said.

It was the first meeting in eight months between President Filipe Nyusi and Ossufo Momade, who was named the group’s leader in January after the death of the party’s veteran head Afonso Dhlakama.

The pair met “to review progress made in the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on military matters and set out the next steps to speed up the process,” the presidency said in a statement.

In the mid-1970s, Renamo fought a brutal 16-year civil war against the Frelimo government that left one million people dead before the fighting stopped in 1992.

The group has since transformed into a political party but it retains an armed wing, with fresh clashes erupting in 2013 between Renamo rebels and government troops.

The fighting lasted three years, with peace talks beginning in 2016 between Nyusi and Dhlakama.

The last time they met in July, Nyusi and Momade made progress on key sticking points — the disarmament and integration of former Renamo rebels into the police and army.

And at Wednesday’s talks, the two hailed “effective” progress.

“The two leaders reaffirmed their determination to continue and maintain dialogue at the highest level.. and agreed to sign a peace agreement marking the ultimate cessation of hostilities as early as possible,” the presidency said.

Mozambique goes to the polls in October to pick a president, members of parliament, provincial governors and provincial lawmakers.

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