Saturday, 22 March 2014

Malawi-Tanzania Border Dispute - Mediation Meeting Held in Mozambique

Former presidents of Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana are mediating on behalf of SADC in the on-going border dispute between Tanzania and Malawi over ownership of Lake Malawi/Nyasa (although I imagine Mbeki is spending less time there as he's also responsible for trying to sort out the Sudan/South Sudan border and possible do something with the CAR). Former Mozambican President Chissano hosted a meeting in Moz on Thursday to try and move the two countries towards an agreement. Malawi claims the whole of the northern part of the lake falls within it's borders, as per a colonial era agreement, while Tanzania claims that modern practice of splitting a border body of water should hold force. It should be mentioned that the southern part of the lake is divided according to said modern norms with Mozambique.

Malawi seems unwilling to budge, with the Malawian delegation leader, Malawi Foreign Minister claiming that
“This is not a historical question or one of mere recognition”, Chiume said. “It's a fact that the lake belongs to Malawi. Since the colonial epoch this was clear, and it was admitted at the time of the independence of our countries”. He claimed that, unless the Malawian claim was accepted, the frontiers of all African countries would be under threat.
Another reason may possibly be the significant hydrocarbon deposits recently identified on the bed of the lake.

If this mediation fails, the case will go to the International Court of Justice. More here.

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