Together with other high-ranking members of the international community, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, took part earlier today in a ceremony marking the signing of the peace accord between RENAMO and FRELIMO, the opposing sides in Mozambique's civil war. This peace accord was in large measure concluded thanks to Swiss support.
“Today is a historic day for Mozambique. This peace accord is a cornerstone for stability in Mozambique and in the wider African region,” said Mr Cassis after the signing ceremony between the ruling party, the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO), and the opposition party, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), in Maputo. “Switzerland has once again made a pivotal contribution through its good offices and neutrality, and especially its outstanding diplomatic professionals,” he added.
At the ceremony, Mr Cassis assured President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and Foreign Minister José Condungua António Pacheco Switzerland's of continued support for Mozambique's peace process and future development. President Nyusi, for his part, praised the quality and efficiency of Swiss diplomacy.
Swiss chairmanship of contact group
When the internal armed conflict flared up again in 2013, Switzerland offered Mozambique its good offices. At the request of President Nyusi and opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama, Switzerland then assumed the chairmanship of the international contact group that facilitated the talks between the two parties. The peace process brokered by Switzerland paved the way for a temporary ceasefire in December 2016, which was followed in May 2017 by a definitive ceasefire – the first since 2013. This ceasefire has now been superseded by the peace accord.
In light of Switzerland's engagement, on 8 July 2019, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Mirko Manzoni, Switzerland's ambassador to Mozambique, as his personal envoy for the country. “This appointment not only underscores Switzerland's active role in Mozambique's ongoing peace process, but also recognises the courage of the secretary-general's envoy and our long-standing engagement with the United Nations,” noted Mr Cassis.
Mr Cassis travelled to Mozambique with Council of States member Damian Müller (FDP.The Liberals) and National Councillor Thomas Aeschi (Swiss People's Party).Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Federal Council, Switzerland.