Disputed border of Lake Malawi

Disputed border of Lake Malawi

DAR ES SALAAM (IPP Media) – The panel of former presidents of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries charged with studying the Lake Malawi (Nyasa) border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania will resume consultations later this month.

Both parties to the conflict have already submitted their evidence to the panel of mediators since November 2013.

The new round of talks will be held in Malawi on August 21, Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry has confirmed.

The ministry’s spokesman, Mkumbwa Ally, gave the update in an interview in Dar es Salaam. He said the panel chairman has called for a resumption of talks “to ensure that the matter is resolved peacefully”.

The spokesman meanwhile dismissed as “baseless” a recent report in a Malawi online news suggesting that top officials who have been representing Tanzania in the border row talks maintain that the lake belongs wholly and solely to Tanzania.

He said the “officials” referred to were by no means from the Tanzanian ministry and any such suggestions should not be regarded as constituting Tanzania’s stand on the matter.

“We are not aware of the report and the officials who gave the stand are definitely neither from our ministry nor representing it. What we are striving for is mediation that will be concluded peacefully,” noted Ally.

The disputed report by Malawi24, was published late last month.

The dispute over the Lake Nyasa border emerged after the Malawi claimed that it owns the lake in its entirety – even the Tanzanian side – while Tanzania argued that the official border ran right down the middle of the lake’s waters.

Malawi went on to award a gas and oil exploration licence to UK-based Surestream Petroleum Company in 2011, which was conducting an environmental impact assessment in the lake.

The mediation panel is chaired by Mozambique’s former President, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, the other members being Thabo Mbeki (South Africa) and Dr Festus Mogae (Botswana).