Address at the 10th Anniversary of the Signing of the 1992 Rome General Peace Accord between Frelimo and Renamo, Maputo, Mozambique, Friday, 4 October 2002

Your Excellency, the President of Mozambique,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Representatives of the International Community,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
The People of Mozambique,
Fellow Africans, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed an honour and a privilege for us to join the people and government of Mozambique to commemorate ten years of peace and stability in your beautiful country.

Today indeed marks a proud moment not only for you in this country, but for all of us in this region and indeed in the continent.

As we recall the events that led to the signing of the Rome General Peace Agreement between the Mozambican government and Renamo, we are all filled with pride and have reason to celebrate the future of the African continent. During the past ten years, Mozambique has evolved into a beacon of stability and hope for all of us.

It is important to reflect on the challenges that face the Mozambican government and people. You would agree with me, Your Excellencies, that, given the deep-seated negative legacies of wars, the critical challenge here would be how to deepen peace, trust and reconciliation. The challenge the Mozambican people face is what can the leaders and ordinary people of Mozambique do to ensure that people permanently overcome the old feelings of hatred and enhance new feelings of nationhood.

Given the depth of the erstwhile animosity that existed between Frelimo and Renamo, we can certainly appreciate the magnitude of the sacrifices it took from both sides. You have shown to the rest of us in the continent, and the world, that it was peace that gave democracy a chance. It is perhaps no coincidence that we are concluding a decade of peace in Mozambique at the same time as Africa has changed the way it is approaching its affairs. There is a growing commitment to peace, stability and the establishment of the rule of law in the continent. The launch of the AU further enhanced the advances we have been making in terms of African development.

The process of establishing the AU also resulted in decisions on difficult issues, such as the right of the AU to intervene in member states in respect of grave circumstances, war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The African Union will have the necessary structures to deal with conflict in the form of the Peace and Security Council. Its functions will include early warning, preventative diplomacy, peace making and peace support operations. It may even respond to requests from members to intervene in restoring peace and security. However, its primary function will be peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction. It will also coordinate and facilitate humanitarian action in situations of armed conflict and natural disaster.

We are still faced with the difficult, yet exciting and challenging tasks of developing the structures of the AU and operationalising its instruments, like the Peace and Security Council. It makes us both architect and builder, busy designing and building our home, this continent, to suit our every need and meet our every challenge.

What you have done in this country ties in perfectly with some of the principles contained in the Constitutive Act of the African Union, for example the following:

Peaceful resolution of conflicts among Member States,
Respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance,
Respect for the sanctity of human life, condemnation and rejection of impunity and political assassination, acts of terrorism and subversive activities.
Certainly, what we witness in Mozambique today is like a map of what should come all over Africa. It is good that we remind ourselves of these recent successes from time to time. It continues to inspire us, and spur on those who remain immersed in conflict to work harder to establish lasting peace. Recent success stories include the Comoros, Lesotho, Angola, and Sierra Leone. Another African success story is the signing of the agreement between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, providing for the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from the Congo and the disarming, dismantling and repatriation of the Interahamwe and former Rwandan armed forces, the ex-Far.

It is clear that ending the conflict in the DRC will have immediate implications for the peace process in Burundi, where a ceasefire agreement was concluded on August 26th, 2002 between the CNDD-FDD movement and the Burundian government. This moved the peace process even closer to securing an inclusive ceasefire agreement, involving all parties.

We trust that the Great Lakes Heads of State Summit on Monday, 7 October will provide a clear direction with regards to ensuring peace and stability in Burundi.

Your Excellencies, let met add that we are particularly gratified that Mozambique will take over the Chair of the African Union in July 2003. I hope that South Africa, as first Chair, will be able to lay a good foundation for our sister country, Mozambique.

We will of course continue our close cooperation in this regard, which would be easier to achieve given that relations between our two countries have continued to deepen, especially since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994.

Your Excellency President Chissano, and the people of Mozambique, as well as our brothers and sisters in FRELIMO and RENAMO, you should be justifiably proud of this truly commendable feat. We, as Africans, are equally proud of your achievements.

We wish you all the best for the future.

I Thank You.

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