Hague reacts to Mutharika remarks ahead of UK-Malawi talks

British government on Monday reacted to  Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika  remarks that he did not expel  Britain High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet.

Mutharika on BBC Have Your Say programme aired last Thursday claimed Her Majesty’s envoy “was never declared persona non grata” despite giving him removal orders from the country.

British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said in a statement made available to Nyasa Timesthat he was “disturbed to hear of President Mutharika’s remarks” during an interview to the BBC in connection with the circumstances surrounding the expulsion of the British High Commissioner in April this year.

Hague: Mutharika remarks disturbing

“The facts of the case are that the Malawian Government expelled Mr Cochrane-Dyet,” Hague explained.

“The British Government was requested in writing to remove him, and despite clear warnings from the British Government as to the serious consequences this move would entail, including the reciprocal expulsion of Malawi’s acting High Commissioner in London and a review of the bilateral relationship, the Malawian Government confirmed that request to us,” the statement by Hague said.

The British Foreign Secretary said the envoy’s expulsion was “a serious blow to the UK’s hitherto excellent bilateral relations with Malawi.”

Mutharika has dispatched a high powered delegation to London for talks with the British Government to restore full diplomatic relations with Lilongwe but stressed that Malawi “will not apologise”.

“We are not in the wrong. Britain is not wrong,” he said.

The Malawi delegation arrived in London and among the officials includes Minister of Education George Chaponda, deputy minister in the president’s office Nicholous Dausi. The delegation is being led by the President’s brother who is also Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika.

Meanwhile, Malawi Diaspora Forum says it is concerned that the regime officials have taken advantage of their trip to UK to recruit spies and “hit-men” amongst Malawians in Britain.

The government officials were in Nottingham at the weekend and have been recruiting regime spies and agents against critics of the government and activists.

“We are aware of all the underhand tactics the delegation is up to and their plans to penetrate amongst Malawians in Ireland as well,” Diaspora Forum said in a brief statement.

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