Tanzania says it is maintaining its claim that it owns half of the eastern part of Lake Malawi and it wants a share of the oil resources in the lake which they call Lake Nyasa.
For decades, Malawi and Tanzania have been at loggerheads over the lake’s boundaries.
While Malawi claims ownership of the entire lake citing a 1890 agreement between Britain and Germany, Tanzania insists that the northern side of Africa’s third largest freshwater lake falls within its territory.
“It is not a secret that Malawi has started exploring oil on the lake. In as far as we are concerned, we would also want to benefit from the same resources,” said Tanzania’s High Commissioner Victoria Mwakasege in quotes reported by the Weekend Nation newspaper.
He said the two neighbouring nations “need to find a solution to deal with these matters and the talks will give us a direction on the way forward on the matter.”
“Our position on the lake has never changed because we have always maintained that our common border is in the middle of that lake.
“The issue is that we always demarcate new districts and regions and, therefore, time and again we publish new maps to highlight those changes,” she said.
During his presidential campaign, Mutharika had said the border dispute with Tanzania – which revolves around the disputed lake – was not negotiable.
A grouping of former SADC heads of state and government, led by former Mozambique president Joaquim Chissano, is currently mediating the dispute at the request of both countries.
Mediation to resolve the dispute has been stalled since 2012, but will be revived this year.
The border dispute resurfaced after Lilongwe in 2011 awarded licences to drill for oil and gas on the northern part of the lake.
Tanzania has in the past demanded that Malawi should halt exploration activities to allow for a diplomatic solution.