As the last military base of the RENAMO opposition movement was closed, Switzerland attended a ceremony in the capital Maputo to mark the end of demobilisation. The Alpine country was represented by Simon Geissbühler, head of the foreign ministry’s peace and human rights division.
“Switzerland congratulates the government, RENAMO and the people of Mozambique on bringing the disarmament and demobilisation process to a successful conclusion,” says a Swiss government press releaseExternal link on Friday. “This is a milestone in the efforts to establish lasting peace and stability in the country, and demonstrates the progress that has been made since the signing in August 2019 of the Maputo Accord, which was also attended by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis.”
Since then, 5,221 ex-combatants (257 women and 4,964 men) have been demobilised and 16 RENAMO military bases have been closed, according to the press release.
Switzerland has been working closely with Mozambique during the country’s peace process, it says. Former Swiss ambassador to the southern African country Mirko Manzoni, who is now the UN secretary-general’s personal envoy to Mozambique, is seen as a key architect of the 2019 peace accord.
Mozambique suffered a 16-year civil war that broke out shortly after independence from Portugal in 1975. A UN-brokered peace deal brought an end to fighting between the ruling FRELIMO party and RENAMO rebels in 1992. But although the rebel movement became a political party, grievances remained, and in 2012 RENAMO took up arms again, undermining the economy with targeted guerrilla attacks. The 2019 peace accord seems to have been successful to date, although Mozambique still faces violence from Islamic groups in parts of the country.
While the disarmament and demobilisation process has been completed, Switzerland says it “will remain fully committed alongside the UN in implementing the other pillars of the Maputo Accord, particularly the socio-economic component”. The Swiss government continues to support a number of humanitarian and development projects in Mozambique.
Source : SwissInfo