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Tripartite talks

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A meeting which President Peter Mutharika and his Zambian and Mozambican counterparts had Monday tackled a number of issues including food shortages, the Mozambican assylum seekers and Shire-Zambezi waterway.

Mutharika had a meeting with Zambia’s Edgar Lungu and Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

At a press conference the leaders had at the end of a closed-door meeting, which lasted close to three hours, Nyusi said apart from the Shire-Zambezi Waterway, Malawi and Zambia should look at other alternatives of reducing transport costs.

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“The Shire-Zambezi Waterway is a vision the government of Malawi has got together with government of Zambia. All this is in a bid to reduce the cost of transportation. We have taken stock of what has been done so far. We also discussed other alternatives because there are alternatives to reduce transportat ion cost and we see what needs for us to be done within the framework of our memorandum of understanding. We will be working very hard to make the Nsanje Port viable and of course we will be working to see as to what is the best time for this project to be made viable,” Nyusi said.

On people who are fleeing

Mozambique and living in Malawi as asylum seekers in Neno, Nyusi said Mozambique appreciates the support that Malawi is rendering to its citizens.

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“It is quite interesting because Malawi has been providing the requirements of these people from Mozambique. We were very thankful for that. We have also decided that we will have a joint mission between Malawi and Mozambique to go and make an assessment of those refugees as to who are they, how many are they, where they are coming from. We want to put in place measures so that they feel better wherever they will be,” Nyusi said.

He also said Mutharika had made recommendations on how the people can return home.

“Our brother, Mutharika, has recommended that we put facilities so that they get attracted to go back home. This will be a voluntary return,” Nyusi said.

On his part, Mutharika stressed the importance of the meeting.

“This year’s food deficit will be bigger. Malawi has to import maize. About three million people will be affected. This other time when I heard that 40 trucks were stuck at Zambia border, I called my brother [Lungu] and within 24 hours, they were given permission to come to Malawi. We appreciate that very much,” Mutharika said.

He was responding to a question from a journalist from Zambia.

Mutharika also commented on transport systems in the region.

“We are talking about intermodal network. We need to look at rail, road and even air transport. That’s what we need to be doing,” Mutharika said.

Lungu emphasized on the need for the three countries to enhance cooperation for economic growth in the region.

“Nacara corridor is very much talked about. It is a very important triangle for the growth of business in the region,” he said

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