Malawi not tabling boarder dispute with Tanzania at UN Summit

The Malawi Government has indicated its protracted boarder dispute with Tanzania will not be tabled at this year’s United Nations General Assembly which begins on Tuesday, September 18 at its headquarters in New York, USA.

Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Patrick Kabambe, disclosed the news to Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) reporter in New York.

“This issue is not coming up at the UN General Assembly for the simple reason that it is a matter that is being discussed between the two countries,” Kabambe told the MBC reporter covering the assembly.

Kabambe: Not a UN matter

A few weeks ago, the principal secretary told the nation if the two countries fail to reach an agreement, Malawi will have no choice but to take the matter to the UN court.

Kabambe said Malawi and Tanzania already agreed on a roadmap to find a solution to the misunderstanding which they are currently going through as such the question of taking the matter to the UN does not arise.

“So far we are engaged in a cordial and diplomatic manner so there is no reason why the matter should be discussed at the UN General Assembly because the two countries are in a process of discussion and engagement to find a solution,” he explained.

The PS further said misunderstandings of that nature are only taken to the UN as a last resort once all other avenues for negotiations have failed.

Last week, Malawi’s Daily Times reported that the United Nations, through a Trust Fund of the Secretary General, has funding for countries like Malawi which have valid border dispute cases but cannot afford to seek the International Court of Justice (ICJ) intervention due to the exorbitant costs.

The development parried fears the Malawi Government had that it would have to cough millions of kwacha to foot the bills should it decide to take the matter to the UN’s International Court.

Talks between the two countries were scheduled to continue last Monday, September 10, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania but the Malawian delegation failed to travel there in order to allow ample time for Attorney Generals of the two sides to prepare and exchange some relevant documents.

The two were expected to exchange the legal opinions on the 1890 Anglo German Treaty, specifically section 1 (ii) part (iv) of the Heligoland Treatry.

The treaty, which was signed between Britain and Germany who were colonial powers of Malawi and Tanzania respectively, stipulates that the boundary lies along the lakeshore on the Tanzania side, a development Tanzanians dispute.

JB arrives

Meanwhile, Malawian President Joyce Banda was expected to arrive in New York on Tuesday, September 18, around 03:00hrs Malawi time.

The annual general debate, during which the world assembly hears statements by some of the expected 193 heads of state and government, as well as ministers, is expected to be officially opened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on September 25 and conclude on Monday, 1 October under the theme ‘Adjustment/settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means.’

Among key issues on its agenda, the assembly will address the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), climate change and sustainable development, food security, the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of conflicts, disarmament, United Nations reform including reform of the Security Council, revitalization of the work of the General Assembly and reaffirming the central role of the organization in global governance.

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