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Lazarus Chakwera focuses on friendship with Tanzania

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President Lazarus Chakwera has said Malawi and Tanzania should focus on building a good friendship before engaging each other on sensitive issues including the long standing lake dispute.

The Malawi leader made the remarks Thursday at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on his arrival from a two-day official visit to Tanzania.

Chakwera, who arrived in Tanzania on Wednesday, said his counterpart, John Magufuli, also stressed that the lake wrangle was not an issue but that there was need to build a healthy relationship.

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“My reason for visiting [Tanzania] is really to establish a rapport, to be able to say friendship before function so that when we talk about some sensitive issues we talk from the position of friendship, one people that know each other, not from a position of hostility,” Chakwera said.

While in Tanzania, he also visited the Malawi Cargo Centre of which he expressed dissatisfaction with its current status.

The President, however, said Malawi was privileged to have the centre as some of the neighbouring countries don’t have, hence the need to use it accordingly.

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“We have an advantage; we just need to honestly and honourably use Malawi Cargo Centre for the services that Malawi needs,” he added.

The Malawi leader also described the Tanzania visits as “very successful.”

He said they have established a friendship that was needed to advance in areas of trade.

The border dispute over Lake Malawi has been simmering since 1967.

Malawi argues that its economic life, culture, folklore, and sentiment as a nation are inextricably linked to the lake.

For Tanzania, the lake supports a large number of artisanal fishermen and there are shoreline communities that have ancestral burial places that now reportedly lie under the lake.

Apart from Tanzania, Chakwera has also visited Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique where he held bilateral talks with his counterparts after ascending to power in June this year.

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