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Malawi digs in on Lake Malawi issue

The Malawi delegation to the talks with Tanzania over Lake Malawi boundary has reiterated its position that the boundary is the shoreline of Lake Malawi as established by Article 1(2) of the 1890 Anglo-German Treaty.

Tanzanian Ambassador to Malawi recently said her country’s claims are motivated by Malawi’s intention to drill newly discovered oil in the lake. Tanzania argues that it owns half of the northern part of the lake.

According to a statement by the Malawi government, at the meeting which took place in Centurion, Pretoria, South Africa on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Malawi delegation also opposed Tanzania’s “unacceptable conduct” of making unilateral decisions such as production of maps purporting to change the current Malawi/Tanzania boundary, which Malawi rejected.

The delegation asserted that both parties should avoid taking provocative actions which can escalate tension.

Following the deadlock, facilitators of the High Level Mediation Team (HLMT) led by Joaquim Chissano, former Mozambican president, and Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa, resolved to consult the leaders of Malawi and Tanzania on the way forward.

“Having heard from both delegations, the HLMT proposed that it should brief and consult their presidents Excellencies Arthur Peter Mutharika and John Pombe Magufuli, for their further guidance on the resolution of the dispute.

“In the spirit of seeking a solution on the dispute, the two delegations accepted the proposal and further agreed that the process of consulting the two heads of State by the HLMT should take place in not more than three months’ time from 12th July, 2017, after which, further direction shall be availed by the HLMT,” reads part of the statement.

The statement says the talks were held in a cordial manner, reflective of the long standing relationship between the two countries.

The meeting was a follow up to the last meeting which was held in Maputo, Mozambique, on March 20 and 21, 2014, where the Government of Malawi and the Government of Tanzania submitted their respective positions.

The Malawi delegation was led by Francis Kasaila, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He was accompanied by Samuel Tembenu, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and other senior government officials.

The statement further says the government shall keep the general public and the nation informed of any developments on the matter.

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