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Malawi says ownership of dispute lake ‘not negotiable’

Malawi has further dug in on its dispute with Tanzania over Lake Malawi, saying that it would only return to the negotiating table to emphasise its position that it owns the entire water mass.

The two countries are bitterly wrangling over the borders of the shared water body that is thought to have big oil and gas deposits.

The principal secretary in the Foreign Affairs minister Patrick Kabambe told local Malawi radio that Lilongwe’s stance remains that it has sovereignty over the entire lake.

“Our stand is we own the lake 100 per cent and its not negotiable, we will meet our Tanzanian counterparts just to emphasise that fact. Malawi owns the whole lake,” he said.

The Public Affairs Committee grouping of Malawi religious leaders had Wednesday asked the government to come clear on its position over the ownership wrangle.

Mr Kabambe said a Malawian delegation would meet their Tanzanian counterparts to try and convince them to abide with the International Court of Justice once judgement is made as Tanzania is not a signatory to the court.

“We want them to assure us that they are going to abide by the ICJ determination. We are aware that Tanzania is not signatory to the ICJ convention,” he said.

Mr Kabambe said they were still analysing its neighbours explanation over the issuance of a controversial new map that depicted that Tanzania owned half the lake, which is also known as Lake Nyasa.

“Tanzania explained to us about the new map and other concerns which we raised; we are still analysing the information which they gave us,” he said.

Malawi pulled out of talks between the two countries soon after Tanzania issuing the new map.

Malawi now prefers the issue to be tabled at the ICJ and has been reluctant to continue negotiations with Tanzania, which has been trying to save the talks.

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