SA welcomes Mozambican peace pact

SA govt has welcomed the signing of another peace agreement in Mozambique.

FILE: SA govt has welcomed the signing of another peace agreement in Mozambique. Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - As President Jacob Zuma prepares to go to Lesotho to rescue a peace deal following an attempted coup, the presidency has welcomed the signing of another peace agreement in neighbouring Mozambique.

The agreement was signed by the president of Mozambique Armando Guebuza and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama who emerged from the central mountains a few weeks ago where his troops had been in conflict with government soldiers.

Mozambique is due to hold democratic elections on 15 October.

International Relations Department's Clayson Monyela says Zuma has called for peace and stability until the elections.

"President Zuma commended both leaders for their commitment to the principles of democracy. By signing the agreement, thereby setting aside political differences and ensuring full participation by Mozambicans in the forthcoming elections.

Dhlakama and Guebuza signed the pact last week in the presidential compound at a ceremony attended by diplomats and journalists.

Guebuza's party, Frelimo, is expected to win a hefty majority in the election.

Elements of the peace accord had already been announced in recent weeks between the former civil war foes, including an amnesty law approved two weeks ago that will allow Dhlakama to leave his temporary hideaway in the bush and run for the presidency in the coming election.

The low-level clashes between Renamo guerrillas and the army and police since 2012 had raised fears of a lapse back to the chaos of the 1975-1992 civil war in the southern African state, which is developing big coal and offshore gas deposits with foreign investors.

Dhlakama, whose Renamo party has lost every election to Frelimo since the end of the war, had taken his fighters back to the bush after accusing Guebuza and Frelimo of unfairly monopolising political and economic power in the country.