MAPUTO, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has called for calm and patience among Mozambicans while they wait for results in efforts to establish a definitive peace from the dialogue underway between him and Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the rebel group Renamo, which is the biggest opposition party in Parliament even as its men still bear arms.

Speaking in the town of Inhassoro, in the southern province of Inhambane, at the closing session of a meeting of district secretaries of the ruling Frelimo Party over the weekend, Nyusi urged Mozambicans not to damage the atmosphere of cordiality which currently characterises the dialogue with Renamo.

The people have given me a mission, which is to stop the war and rescue peace,” said Nyusi, whose visit to the central district of Gorongosa, where Dhlakama is currently living in a Renamo camp, is part of that mission.

He added that the dialogue under way at the highest level could be consolidated by other Mozambicans with good intentions, but their interventions should not agitate those who are calmly waiting for an embrace and a handshake, symbolising peace.

We are building consensus in the dialogue. At the dialogue table, Dhlakama has presented his vision on governance and the package of electoral legislation. He has also gone back in time to what he calls the failure to comply with or the violation of some clauses of the General Peace Agreement signed on 4 October 1992. These are the matters we are dealing with to find the best way that satisfied all the parties, said Nyusi.

These, and other questions, such as the disarming, demobilisation and re-integration of Renamo forces, he added, had been remitted to the working groups set up between the two sides for study. They will later be channelled to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

Nyusi has made two visits to the Gorongosa bush. On the first occasion, on Aug 6, he met face to face with Dhlakama. But last Wednesday, the two men only spoke by phone, although they were just a few kilometres apart.

Nyusi went to the Chitengo camp in the Gorongosa National Park, and sent the national police commander, Bernadino Rafael, in a helicopter to pick up Dhlakama from his base. But Dhlakama refused to enter the helicopter, apparently for security reasons, and so the discussion had to take place by phone.

At the Inhassoro meeting, Nyusi revealed that last Friday, I even suggested to Dhlakama, as a Mozambican brother, that we could have lunch together in Gorongosa, but he replied it would not be elegant to have meals in the bush with the President of the Republic. But he did not rule out the possibility of, at any moment, sitting down for a meal at the same table, regardless of the place.

Nyusi set no time limits on the dialogue, but made it clear that it was taking place in an atmosphere of brotherhood and that at any moment an agreement could be signed for an effective and lasting peace.