Guebuza to meet Renzi, Napolitano and Pope Francis
The outgoing president of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza, will pay an official visit to Rome and the Vatican on 2 December, at the invitation of Italian premier Matteo Renzi.
During the visit both leaders will sign a three-year cooperation agreement between the two countries. Guebuza will also visit the Italian president Giorgio Napolitano and Pope Francis, as well as meeting business leaders and members of the Mozambican community in Italy.
Another important aspect of his trip to Rome will be visiting the Trastevere-based Communità di S. Egideo, the Catholic charity which brokered the so-called Rome General Peace Accord in October 1992, ending civil war in Mozambique. The agreement between the Frelimo government and the Renamo rebels put an end to the 16-year conflict in which around one million people died between 1977 and 1992. The peace negotiations were brokered by a team of four mediators: two members of S. Egidio – including the organisation's founder and former Italian minister for international cooperation Andrea Riccardi; a bishop, and an Italian government representatives.
Guebuza's arrival in Rome follows Renzi's visit to Mozambican capital Maputo in July, when he became the first Italian premier to visit the large south-east African country since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
Italy is the ninth largest foreign investor in Mozambique with strong business links there – particularly in the energy sector – and the Italian state oil company ENI is currently leading a major natural gas exploration project in the north of the country.
Guebuza is in the last months of his second term of office as Mozambican president, a post he has held since 2005. He is constitutionally barred from running a third time and will be succeeded in February by Filipe Nyusi who won the country's presidential elections in October.