Blantyre, Malawi, Nov. 8 (Newstime Africa) – The stalled border dispute talks between Malawi and Tanzania are set to resume next week, a senior Malawi government official has disclosed. ”We are meeting in Tanzania from the 15th to the 17th (November),” said Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume.
Tanzania is claiming half of Lake Malawi dismissing the 1890 Anglo-German treaty (Holigoland Treaty) that gave the entire lake to Malawi as “flawed”. The issue first surfaced in the 1960s after the two countries gained independence but Malawi prevailed. The border dispute has resurfaced now after Malawi gave a British firm, Surestream, exploration rights for oil in the lake.
President Joyce Banda held talks over the issue on the sidelines of a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summit in Maputo, Mozambique, where the latter assured her the issue would be resolved amicably. Officials from the two countries agreed to hold talks over the held talks but President Banda ordered Malawi’s pull out from the talks after Tanzania published a new map showing the border right in the middle of the lake and reports that Malawian fishermen were being harassed on the lake.
She accused her Tanzanian counter of bluffing her. Chiume, the Foreign Affairs minister, said next week’s talks would focus on the Tanzanian new map and the alleged harassment of Malawian fishermen. ”President Banda would like this issue to be resolved peacefully and diplomatically,” he said.
Malawi’s top diplomat, however, said Malawi would still pursue the issue with the International Court of Justice. ”This being a legal matter I think the best route to go is through the ICJ,” he said. On the other hand Tanzania prefers mediation by SADC or the African Union (AU).(rt)
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