Negotiations between the Mozmabican government and the rebel movement Renamo have resumed in the capital, Maputo, with the observation of a minute’s silence in honour of one of the Renamo negotiating team, Jeremias Pondeca, who was assassinated on Oct 9.

After that, the international mediating team met Tuesday with the Renamo delegation behind closed doors. The mediators was to meet with the government delegation later.

Nothing of substance was said to the media. The co-ordinator of the mediators, Italian Mario Raffaelli, told jourma;ists the best homage that could be paid to Pondeca “will be through a joint effort to achieve a cessation of hostilities, as both sides have already said”.

As for the content of the discussions, Raffaelli said he could only reveal this after the mediators had met with both delegations.

Apparently the mediators’ strategy is to firm up commitments from the two sides separately before bringing them both round the table in a full meeting of the Government-Renamo Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission was originally set up to pave the way for a face-to-face meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. But such a meeting now seems further away than ever, since Dhlakama, in an interview given a fortnight ago, refused point blank to meet with Nyusi before signing a final agreement on all the matters in dispute.

The mediating team was strengthened on Tuesday by the arrival of former Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete. He is one of the mediators chosen by the government side, but he was unable to attend previous rounds of talks because of prior engagements.