Malawi skips Lake Malawi dispute meeting


Malawi failed to show up at another round of talks which were scheduled to take place in Dar es Salaam from Saturday October 27 2012, arguing it is still consulting.

Tanzania recently made a further attempt at dialogue to end the border dispute with Malawi over the boundary of north-east Lake Malawi.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Patrick Kabambe last week said government did not send its representatives.

“You may recall we had asked for clarifications on some concerns that we had raised and that we would go back to the discussions after getting their response.

“They did send their response and we are consulting to look at whether this response is satisfactory and after that review, we will decide when to go back to the talks.”

But Kabambe reiterated government’s position that Capital Hill did not receive any invitation from Tanzania on the talks.

Recently, the permanent secretary in Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, John Haule, said Tanzania had sent an invitation to Malawi for talks in Dar es Salaam.

Haule said Malawi failed to show up at earlier talks that were scheduled to take place in the Tanzanian commercial capital from October 10 to 15 2012.

Malawi has declared it prefers to take the issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a United Nations’ body. Tanzania, though a member of ICJ, is not a signatory to Article 36 of the ICJ which requires all parties to a dispute to accept ICJ’s jurisdiction and declarations on all legal disputes concerning interpretation of a treaty or any question of international law.

Early last month, President Joyce Banda announced that Malawi had officially pulled out of the Malawi-Tanzania border discussions following Dodoma’s decision to publish a new map which, among other features, shows the disputed boundary between the two countries to be in the middle of Lake Malawi.

Tanzania published the new map only about a month after a five-day meeting in Lilongwe ended in a stalemate.

The President said she recently only briefed the African Union (AU) and the UN on the dispute.

Meanwhile, Tanzania’s online publication,, quotes people living in that country’s Kyela District as having pressed their government to get back a portion of Lake Malawi they claim belongs to them. They argued that historically, Tanzania owns a big part of the lake.

The people, according to the publication, made the demand when Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bernard Membe visited the area to seek their input into efforts aimed at resolving the conflict that has pitted Malawi and Tanzania over ownership of the lake.

At the heart of the conflict is the Anglo-German Treaty, also known as the Heligoland Treaty, of 1890, which gave Malawi ownership of the disputed part of the lake.

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