Tanzania and Malawi’s Lake Dispute Features in State of the Nation Address in Malawi

The ongoing dispute between the Governments of Malawi and Tanzania over Lake Malawi’s boundaries (known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania), sparked by the Malawian government’s distribution of exploration licences to companies to prospect for oil in the lake, made it into Joyce Banda’s, president of Malawi, State of the Nation Address today.

She gave the speech at the opening of the 44th session of parliament in Lilongwe, Malawi.

As Banda discussed achievements during the first half of the 2012-2013 financial year, she highlighted the restoration and establishment of diplomatic relations and indicated, with certainty, that the dispute with Tanzania over Lake Malawi will be resolved peacefully.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Honourable Members, with regard to the dispute on the Lake Malawi boundary between the Republic of Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania, I wish to report that the two Governments agreed to amicably resolve the issue through peaceful and diplomatic means. On the 31st January 2013, Malawi submitted its Opening Statement which articulates our position to the Africa Forum for Former Heads of State and Government from the Southern African Development Community Region which has been invited to mediate on the dispute. This submission avows our support of the Forum and the mediation role that the Forum has taken on and our respect for the experience and wisdom of the members of the Forum: President Joaquim Chissano, President Quett Masire, President Kenneth Kaunda and President Thabo Mbeki.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Let me inform the Honourable House that if a mutually acceptable solution cannot be reached through the efforts of the Forum the matter must go, as Malawi and Tanzania have already agreed, to the International Court of Justice. A solution respectful of the rule of law is the only responsible way forward.

Joyce Banda (Credit: Christine Butler)

Joyce Banda (Credit: Christine Butler)

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