Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Banda rules out Malawi-Tanzania deal

Malawi President Joyce Banda has ruled out the possibility of an interim deal with Tanzania over their disputed border that runs through Lake Malawi. “ Malawi's position is that we own the entire lake, except for a portion ceded to Mozambique in 1954 for mutually beneficial reasons. The law clearly supports that position," said Banda on 14 July, suggesting also that the issue would be brought to the International Court of Justice if a resolution was not reached by September.
The announcement came in a press conference following talks with the former presidents of Mozambique and South Africa, Joachim Chissanoand Thabo Mbeki, who were on an official visit to Lilongwe to help mediate between both parties. Chissano, who now heads the Southern Africa Development Corporation (SADC) Forum of Former Heads of State and Government, which has been an active player in the five decade old dispute since the case was referred to it earlier this year, pledged his team would present Malawi's concerns to Tanzania and aim to reach an agreement within three months.
Malawi claims the majority of Lake Malawi, Africa's third-largest lake, according to a colonial-era document, the 1890 Anglo-German Treaty, while Tanzania insists that the lake should be shared equitably between them, based on the guidelines on maritime boundaries set out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Tensions have risen after Malawi awarded a contract to Britain's Surestream Petroleum last year to prospect for oil in the Lake near the Tanzanian coast. The region is believed to be extremely rich in natural gas and oil.

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