Tanzania’s Minister for Defence and National Service, Hussein Mwinyi, said on Monday that negotiations to find a lasting solution over the Lake Nyasa border dispute between his country and Malawi were continuing.
“The government of Tanzania is working tirelessly to ensure an amicable solution is found peacefully,’’ Mwinyi told the National Assembly in the capital Dodoma.
Tabling his ministry’s budget proposals for the 2018/2019 financial year, Mwinyi said: “We are doing all we can to ensure that the Lake Nyasa border dispute ends peacefully.’’
He told the House that the negotiations led by former Mozambique’s President Joachim Chissano, South Africa’s former President, Thabo Mbeki and Botswana’s former President, Festus Mogae, were still giving hope of reaching “an amicable solution.”
The border dispute over Lake Nyasa between the two countries has been on for a long time but resurfaced in 2012 when Malawi awarded exclusive oil prospecting licenses in Lake Nyasa to two British oil companies.
Malawi has linked the dispute to possible oil and gas reserves in the lake and claims ownership based on the 1890 Heligoland agreement.
The country claimed to own the whole lake in its entirety.
On the other hand, Tanzania claims that the boundary is the median line of the lake based on principles of customary international law.
Tanzania and Malawi officials last met in March 2014 in the Mozambican capital Maputo for talks after the two countries nearly went to war over the lake following the discovery of oil in the region.
Lake Nyasa is home to 1,000 species of fish. It is located at the crossroads of Malawi in the west, Mozambique to the south and Tanzania to its northeast.
With an estimated fish stock of 168,000 tonnes, Lake Nyasa is a source of livelihood for nearly 10 million people.