The international team mediating in the talks between the Mozambican government and the country’s Renamo rebels has pledged to draw up a new proposal on decentralization, which can win consensus from both sides.

According to the co-ordinator of the mediators, European Union representative Mario Raffaelli, the mediating team had met again on Wednesday with each side separately. This has been the mediators’ preferred way of working since the fourth round of talks in October. It means that the joint commission between the government and Renamo scarcely ever meets in plenary session.

In late October, the mediators left their first proposal on decentralization for the government and Renamo to discuss. There must have been some objections to it, since the mediators are now drafting a second proposal, which will take the reactions of the two delegations into account.

“The mediators are going to produce a second version of the proposal, taking into consideration the factors that have emerged in the discussions held,” Raffaelli said here Thursday. He, however,i gave no specific details of what either side had told the mediators. Nor could he give reporters any timetable for the next stages in the talks.

The mediators’ original proposal, published in the independent weekly, Savana, proposed that a truce be declared — but only after the two sides have agreed a series of proposals on decentralization and submitted them to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

The “decentralization” which interests Renamo is taking control of the six central and northern provinces where it claims, against the facts, that it won the 2014 general election. The mediators’ document did not mention this Renamo claim, but made some more general proposals about provincial governance.

The provincial government, the document says, “is headed by the Provincial Governor, chosen locally”. The use of the word “chosen” sidesteps the issue of whether the governors should be appointed or elected.

Each province, the document argues, should be granted “a certain degree of financial autonomy to be exercised within the framework of the Constitution and the law, respecting the principles of budgetary stability, stability of financial relations, solidarity between the provinces, coordination, transparency and control”.

The mediators wanted their proposals to guide amendments to the Constitution and once these amendments are deposited in the Assembly of the Republic, a truce would be declared “to make it possible to discuss and solve the matter of Renamo provisional governance in the provinces in a more favourable environment”.

Only after agreement is reached on this, and all other matters on the agenda of the joint Commission, would the truce become definitive, to be followed by the long awaited meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

But there is no sign of any of this happening. The current sitting of the Assembly ends on Dec 20, and it would be very difficult for the deputies to discuss and approve constitutional amendments in that time, especially since the parliamentary agenda is already very crowded. including items which cannot be postponed, such as the Economic and Social Plan and the State Budget for 2017, and President Filipe Nyusi’s annual State of the Nation address.