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Mozambique President, Opposition Leader Meet for First Time Since 2015

FILE - Afonso Dhlakama of the Renamo party and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi meet in early 2015.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama met over the weekend for the first time since 2015, raising hopes of an end to violence following a disputed election three years ago.

Fighters from the ruling Frelimo and Dhlakama's Renamo parties have clashed sporadically since Renamo challenged the results of the 2014 vote, though the fighting takes place mostly in the remote interior, making it difficult to gauge its scale and casualties.

Nyusi and Dhlakama met at the Gorongosa mountain district, where Dhlakama has been in hiding with hundreds of fighters since 2015.

"The two leaders discussed and agreed on the next steps in the peace process, which they hope will be completed by the end of the year," Nyusi's office said in statement.

Competition over natural resources could be exacerbating unrest: Mozambique is on the verge of developing huge offshore gas reserves which could transform one of the world's poorest countries into a middle-income state.

Members of the current government and Renamo fought on opposing sides in a civil war from 1976 to 1992 that killed an estimated 1 million people.