Moz, Renamo hold talks

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iol news pic Renamo guerrilla

Maputo -

Mozambique's government held talks with restive ex-rebels Renamo on Monday over a list of grievances the former fighters say they have accumulated since signing a peace deal with the ruling party twenty years ago.

“The meeting was cordial although there was some emotion during the first phase when we talked about the composition of the security forces,” said Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco.

The meeting came after Renamo's leader, Afonso Dhlakama, returned to a former military base and threatened to return to war unless the Frelimo-led government agreed to negotiations.

Both parties were key actors in a brutal 16-year civil war that lead to the deaths of one million Mozambicans.

After two hours of preliminary talks, the government agreed to meet Renamo again in a week's time, but said the opposition party must be more specific about its grievances.

“We would like know what Renamo specifically wants, they need to go from general declarations to concrete examples,” Pacheco said.

“When we talk about exclusion they must tell us who is being excluded so we can include them,” said Pacheco.

Renamo's complains only members of the ruling party are receiving the country's new-found natural resource wealth.

Renamo also wants more of its demobilized fighters included in the security forces, and an overhaul of the electoral system to prevent fraud.

Renamo has put pressure on the government to respond to its demands.

Once demobilized Renamo fighters have been undergoing training in the remote mountain camp since October.

After the talks the ex-rebels accused the government for not taking them seriously enough.

“The Frelimo government is always the same. They do appear to see the issues we raised as legitimate. This worries us, but we hope that in the coming days the government will respond positively,” said the head of Renamo's delegation and the party's Secretary General, Manuel Bissopo. - Sapa-AFP


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