Mozambique talks collapse

2012-12-17 22:03
Fighters of former Mozambican rebel movement \\\\Renamo\\\\ receive military training in Gorongosa's mountains, Mozambique. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

Fighters of former Mozambican rebel movement \\\\Renamo\\\\ receive military training in Gorongosa's mountains, Mozambique. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

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Maputo - Talks broke down between Mozambique's government and restive ex-rebels Renamo on Monday after three rounds of talks on grievances failed to reach consensus, a Renamo leader said.

"They are politicising the civil service, there's discrimination in the armed forces and social exclusion, and no consensus above all on the composition of electoral commission bodies, so that's why the negotiations can't carry on," said secretary general Manuel Bissopo.

The meetings started came after movement leader Afonso Dhlakama returned to a former military base and threatened to return to war unless the Frelimo-led government agreed to negotiations.

A delegation of over 150 senior Renamo officials and soldiers will meet at their military base in Gorongosa in the centre of the country on Tuesday to plot their next move, Rahil Khan, political advisor to the party president Afonso Dhlakama, told AFP.

After the breakdown in talks the former rebel movement - and current main opposition party - will find "other ways to negotiate with the government", Bissopo told a media conference.

"The people will take action to force the government to negotiate with the opposition," he added.

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

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

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

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

Frelimo negotiator Jose Pacheco, the country's agriculture minister, said "we believe the information which we shared with Renamo gave them clarity over our position".

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