The President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza, and the leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), Afonso Dhlakama, met today in Maputo to sign the political agreement that will bring an end to hostilities. The agreement sets the seal on the understanding reached in late August. It marks the start of a new political process that will lead to elections on 15 October in conditions of stability and full participation by all of the country’s political forces.
Italian diplomacy at work
Dhlakama’s return is a success story for Italian diplomacy. An Italian delegation led by Carlo Calenda, Deputy Minister at the Ministry for Economic Development, Monsignor Matteo Zuppi of the Community of Sant'Egidio, and the Italian Ambassador in Maputo recently made their way into the dense forest of Gorongosa to meet the RENAMO leader. On their return they reached agreement with President Guebuza on the arrangements for Dhlakama’s return to Maputo. The Italian Embassy then coordinated a second expedition to Gorongosa, this time with a delegation that included the Ambassadors of the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Botswana, to accompany Dhlakama on his journey back to the capital.
Appreciation and gratitude for Italy’s role
In their speeches at the signing ceremony, both Guebuza and Dhlakama expressed their appreciation of and gratitude for Italy’s role in facilitating contacts between the parties. Italian diplomacy had helped to overcome the distrust that at the last minute had threatened to undermine the implementation of the agreements. As the Italian Ambassador in Maputo, Roberto Vellano, underscored, it bears witness to the special relationship linking Italy and Mozambique, 22 years on from the Rome Agreement, and our role as a strategic partner for the country’s political stability and development.