JOHANNESBURG — Mozambique’s president and the leader of country’s main opposition group signed a new peace accord Tuesday, pledging to end years of violence and work toward peaceful elections in October.

The signing of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement in the country’s capital, Maputo, by President Filipe Nyusi and Ossufo Momade, the leader of the Renamo rebel group, followed their signing last week of a similar agreement to cease military hostilities. That took place in Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique.

The new pacts call for the immediate disarmament and reintegration into society of more than 5,000 rebels. Some Renamo officers are to take up leadership positions in the military, but only a few rebels have turned in their arms so far. Mr. Momade said they would participate peacefully in the country’s elections on Oct. 15.

As part of the negotiations, Mozambique’s legislature amended the country’s constitution so provincial governors will be elected, rather than appointed by the ruling party. It is expected this change will allow Renamo to win a few provincial governor positions in central and northern areas where it has support.

The two agreements resulted from years of negotiations to bring an end to sporadic violence that has persisted since the end in 1992 of a bloody, 15-year civil war in which an estimated one million people died. Another peace agreement was signed in 2014, but violence sporadically flared up.

Portugal, which was the colonial power in Mozambique until its independence in 1975, has supported the country’s peace negotiations, and Portugal’s Foreign Secretary, Teresa Rebeiro, attended Tuesday’s signing ceremony in Maputo’s central Peace Square.

The Portuguese news agency Lusa said the ceremony was also witnessed by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and four other African heads of state, as well as the European Union’s policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

Thousands of Maputo residents also turned out for the ceremony, including many children wearing T-shirts with the phrase “Ultimate Peace.”



Source link