Mozambican opposition wants foreign mediation of peace talks

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By EMMANUEL CAMILLO, Associated Press

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Mozambique's main opposition party Renamo revived its demand for foreign mediation of ongoing talks with the government aimed at ending renewed hostilities between the two old foes.

But the head of the government delegation, agriculture minister Jose Pacheco, was quoted Thursday by Mozambican state broadcasting as saying that the dialogue with Renamo was an internal matter between Mozambicans for which no foreign mediation was required.

"The government has no wish to internationalize the discussions. We have made it clear that the issue under discussion now should be the immediate and unconditional disarming of Renamo," he said.

"So far Renamo has not disarmed a single one of its gunmen, despite extracting all the key concessions it wanted from the government on the electoral laws," he said.

On Wednesday deputies from the ruling Frelimo party in the Mozambican parliament accused Renamo of not keeping its word and continuing attacks in the central province of Sofala.

Also on Wednesday, Antonio Muchanga, spokesman for Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, claimed that units of the riot police and of the army had bombarded the Gorongosa mountain range where Dhlakama is believed to be hiding with heavy artillery.

Reacting to this, Pacheco said that on Monday Renamo killed four police when they attacked the frontier guard post at Mussicadzi, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Gorongosa town.

Security forces are pursuing the group that launched the Monday attack, he said.

An agreement signed between the two parties in Rome in 1992 saw an end to a bitter 16-year civil war, but violence flared up again in May when Renamo gunmen attacked a police station at Muxungue in central Mozambique, killing 5 riot police and injuring several others.

This was followed by government troops storming Stunjira in central Mozambique where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama was staying, killing a number of Renamo gunmen, and forcing the party leader to flee.

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