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Malawi still consulting on Lake row

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Malawi is still consulting on the forward regarding the on-going lake Malawi boundary row with Tanzania, foreign Affairs authorities say.

This comes after both Malawi and Tanzania have halted the diplomatic talks on resolving the issue opting for a mediator.

Malawi withdrew from the talks after Tanzania recently produced a new map showing the new boundary as being in the middle of Lake Malawi and not at the north eastern part.

Principle secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs Patrick Kabambe told Capital Radio that there are several issues that need to be sorted out for the dispute to be resolved amicably.

“We are still discussing. We have received a response from Tanzania on the letter of protest that we sent regarding the new map that they issued where they say they added new districts, but though doesn’t explain why they put the boarder at the middle of the lake; so we need to seek clarification.

“So we will sit down and look at the letter and decide the next course of action.

Earlier, President Banda has since referred the matter to the international criminal court of justice (ICJ) for an amicable resolution.

But the Tanzanian government is reported to have opted for a mediator from within the SADC region, as is it not a member to the ICJ.

And Kambabe said the Malawi government is consulting on how Tanzania has to be incorporated in the ICJ …..

“We would like to continue with the discussing until the matter is resolved one way or another, the challenge is that if we go to the ICJ, Tanzania is not a member yet, so we have to call them and after them accepting that the ICJ decision will be binding on them,” said Kambabe.

Meanwhile, Britain, Malawi’s former colonial master has urged the two neighbouring countries to resolve the ongoing lake row peacefully amid tension between the two countries.

Local legal commentators have backed Britain’s appeal for a peaceful resolution on the matter, saying it would be illegal for Malawi to go to war with Tanzania as international law says issues like these be resolved amicably.

Tanzania reportedly wants 50 percent ownership of the Lake basing on the common international law, which stipulates that where two countries are separated by a body of water the boundary should be on the middle of that body of water a situation which is different between the neighbouring countries.

On the other hand, Malawi claims full ownership of the lake with the eastern shores of the lake as borders; citing the Heligoland Treaty in 1890 signed by Germany and Britain – colonial masters of Tanzania and Malawi respectively, and the OAU resolution of 1963 which states that member states should recognize and accept the borders that were inherited at the time of independence.

The 1963 resolution was also adopted by the African Union resolutions in 2002 and 2007.

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