Malawi foreign minister meets Chissano over Lake Malawi dispute with Tanzania

Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Mganda Chiume had a scheduled meeting on Friday with retired Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano in Maputo, Mozambique over the prolonged Lake Malawi boarder dispute with Tanzania amid oil exploration.

Chissano, who is also the Chairperson of Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government, is mediating on the two country’s dispute.

Chiume said he wanted  to find out from the former Mozambican leader the  progress made so far on the matter.

The minister wants to take advantage of his presence in the Mozambican capital where he is attending a two-day Council of Ministers Meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) scheduled for March 8 and 9, 2013.

Chiume p finding out the progress  from Chissano on lake dispute
Chiume p finding out the progress from Chissano on lake dispute

The SADC ministers’ meeting will discuss, among others, the regional organisation’s budget, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar and Zimbabwe, according to SADC Executive Secretary, Tomás Salomão.

Tanzania claims half of Lake Malawi belongs to it while on the other hand Malawi says it owns the entire water body, Africa’s third-largest freshwater lake, basing on the 1890 colonial agreement.

The two countries have been involved in a series of discussions in Malawi as well as Tanzania but failed to reach a consensus before agreeing to refer their dispute to the Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government for mediation.

The two neighbouring countries made a joint submission on December 21 last year to Chissano to mediate on their dispute.

The Forum gave Malawi and Tanzania four months, starting January 2013, to conclude its mediation on the matter and find an amicable solution to the dispute

The contentious part is a largely undeveloped swathe of the lake, where Malawi has awarded a licence to British firm Surestream to explore for oil in the northeastern waters which is near Tanzania.

The 29,600-square-kilometre water body is Malawi’s major tourism attraction straddling one third of the country’s territory.

While in Malawi they call it Lake Malawi, Tanzania calls the same Lake Nyasa, taken from Malawi’s colonial name.

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