Malawi and its northern neighbour Tanzania have set a deadline for talks on the disputed Lake Malawi after a four year stalemate.
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Francis Kasaila said the two countries have agreed this year end as a deadline for the talks.
This follows the meeting of President Peter Mutharika and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magofuli recently had in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mediation to resolve the dispute has been stalled since 2012, but will be revived under the supervision of former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano.
“After the meeting of the presidents in Addis Ababa, we were told to write the high level mediation team which we did. Our mission in Mozambique has been following up with Mr Chissano and we are now assured that the matter would be concluded by the end of the year,” he said.
He said a series of meetings are planned in order to resolve the matter.
Malawi disputes Tanzania’s claim to half the lake–Africa’s third largest. The neighbours have clashed over their border since independence and reports that the lake had vast oil and gas reserves has reignited the ongoing dispute over the boundaries on Lake Malawi.
The government of Malawi awarded oil exploration licences to international firms such as Hamra Oil of United Arab Emirates to search for oil in the lake, which Tanzania calls Lake Nyasa.
Tanzania has in the past demanded that Malawi should halt exploration activities to allow for a diplomatic solution.
Mutharika said recently the issue of Lake Malawi was not negotiable, saying the lake belongs to Malawi.
The 54-year-old dispute stems from colonial-era border lines drawn around the 29,600 square kilometres (11,400 square miles) of Lake Malawi.
The case is still pending in International Court of Justice.