-- Joaquim Chissano, former Mozambican
President, has been asked to mediate in the border
dispute between Malawi and Tanzania, over Lake
According to the Mozambique News
Agency (AIM) on Monday, Malawian Foreign
Minister Ephraim Chiume said that
representatives of the two countries will
deliver the formal invitation to Chissano in
Maputo on Thursday.
The invitation should have been
delivered two weeks ago, but Chiume said that
had not been possible because the Tanzanian side
had not concluded its part on time.
The foreign minister said Chissano
will head a team of former heads of state of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
mediate the dispute on how the northern part of
Lake Niassa should be divided between Tanzania and
The two countries tried to
resolve the problem, but failed to do so for
many rounds that started in August this year.
They had decided to call for
assistance from former southern African
presidents. Should this mediation fail, Chiume
was quoted by AIM as saying that the matter will
be remitted to the International Court of
Malawi is claiming all of the
northern part of the lake, based on the Heligoland
Treaty of 1890 between Britain and Germany, at the
time Malawi was under British rule, and Tanganyika
was a German colony.
Tanzania, however, wants a
dividing line drawn through the middle of the
lake, which is how boundaries between countries
who share lakes are normally dealt with.
The Lilongwe administration
hopes the matter can be resolved by the end of
2013. It has become urgent due to the reserves
of oil and natural gas that are believed to lie
under the lake.
Malawi’s decision to give
exploration rights in the whole lake to a
British company, Surestream, has led to the
Tanzania has said that it was
ready to shade blood if its side of the lake is
usurped by Malawi.