News24

Malawi to re-open talks with Tanzania

2012-10-18 07:50

Blantyre - Malawi is preparing to re-open talks over a long-standing border dispute with Tanzania, two months after diplomatic negotiations stalled, Foreign Minister Ephraim Chiume said on Wednesday.

"We are ready for the resumption of the talks. Malawi will soon be sending its delegation to Tanzania to chart the way forward," Chiume told the national news agency.

Last month Malawi cancelled a fresh round of talks after Tanzania "came up with a new map which defined a new boundary, and to us this suggested that they were not doing these negotiations in good faith," said Chiume.

Based on an 1890 colonial agreement, Malawi claims ownership of the whole of Lake Malawi, which forms the border between the two countries.

Tanzania has maintained that half the lake falls within its borders and is already eyeing it for natural gas exploration.

Earlier this month Malawian President Joyce Banda announced her country would take the dispute to the International Court of Justice for arbitration.

The two countries are bickering over a largely undeveloped swathe of the lake, where Malawi has awarded a licence to British firm Surestream to explore for oil in its north-eastern waters, near Tanzania.

The 29 600-square-kilometre lake is Africa's third-largest freshwater lake. In Tanzania, it is called Lake Nyasa, which is taken from Malawi's colonial name.

The lake lies in the Great Lakes system stretching along the East African Rift.