Zambia's Sata reconciles with Malawi
Lusaka - Zambian president Michael Sata said on Friday he had decided to reconcile with eastern neighbour Malawi after a diplomatic row over his 2007 deportation from that country when he was an opposition leader.
Sata, who took over as president of Africa's biggest copper producer after a surprise September 20 election victory, made the announcement after meeting former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi. Muluzi was on a private visit to Zambia.
As a leader of the Zambian opposition in 2007, Sata was denied entry into Malawi and deported upon arrival after being declared a prohibited immigrant.
In October after becoming Zambian president, Sata refused to attend a regional summit in Malawi, saying he would only do so if Lilongwe apologised for his deportation.
Malawi's government has not apologised, but has said Sata was free to visit the country.
After meeting Muluzi, Sata told reporters the former Malawian president had managed to persuade him to end the row with the government of current President Bingu wa Mutharika.
"We feel that Malawi and Zambia are bigger than Michael Sata and Bingu wa Mutharika," Sata said.
"I have agreed and I have given him a message to convey to President Bingu wa Mutharika that as far as I am concerned let bygones be bygones."
Zambia has traditionally had good relations with its smaller eastern neighbour.