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Chissano to be formally invited to head mediation on L. Nyasa

20th December 2012
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Joaquim Chissano

Delivery of the formal invite to former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano for border dispute mediation between Tanzania and Malawi over Lake Nyasa has been rescheduled.

Earlier it was scheduled that the invitation would be delivered today. But according to Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation deputy minister Mhadhi Juma Maalim, said the governments are still working on the specific date when they are going to meet the former Mozambican president.

The deputy minister said in an interview with The Guardian that the two ministers had earlier scheduled to deliver the letter to Chissano today, inviting him to lead the mediation.

However, he said, this had been rescheduled and instead the invitation would be delivered at a date to be agreed upon by Chissano and the ministers this week.

According to the Mozambique News Agency (AIM) the former Mozambican president, has been informally approached to mediate in the border dispute.

On Monday, Malawian foreign minister Ephraim Chiume said representatives of the two countries were to deliver the formal request to Chissano in Maputo today.

Chiume said Chissano will head a team of former heads of state of Southern African Development Community (SADC) in mediating the dispute on how the northern part of Lake Niassa should be divided between Tanzania and Malawi.

The countries have held a number of meetings that started in August this year, to try to solve the dispute, but without success.

It was then that they decided to call for assistance from former southern African presidents for their wisdom on the unresolved issue.

Should this mediation fail, Chiume was quoted by Mozambican News Agency (AIM) as saying, the matter would be remitted to the International Court of Justice.

In the more than one century old dispute, Malawi is claiming that all of the northern part of the lake belongs to her, based on the Heligoland Treaty of 1890 between Britain and Germany, at the time the former country was under British rule, and Tanganyika was a German colony.

On her part, Tanzania wants a dividing line drawn through the middle of the lake, which is how boundaries between countries who share lakes are normally dealt with, also based on the same treaty.

The Lilongwe administration hopes the matter can be resolved by the end of 2013, saying it has become urgent due to the reserves of oil and natural gas that are believed to lie under the lake.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN