BLANTYRE--Malawian President Joyce Banda has told media managers her country will not "go to war with our brothers and sisters in Tanzania" over oil and gas exploration in Lake Malawi, vowing to resolve the "differences diplomatically and amicably."
"Even if the diplomatic route fails, it doesn’t necessarily mean we will go to war with our brothers and sisters in Tanzania because we can resort to other channels to solve the matter," Banda told reporters in her first public reaction to the issue.
Tanzania, which wants exploration activities in the northeast part of the lake to stop to pave way for ongoing discussions to resolve the crisis, has called for an amicable resolution to the dispute.
Banda came to power in April after the death of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika whose administration licenced British firm Surestream Petroleum to prospect for hydrocarbons and has been conducting an environmental impact assessment.
"Much as it is a well-known fact that the lake belongs to Malawi, we will engage our Tanzanian counterparts and resolve our differences diplomatically and amicably," she said.
The Malawi leader said she was going to hold "diplomatic talks" with her counterpart Jakaya Kikwete in Mozambique during the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
"I will take that opportunity to meet my brother Jakaya Kikwete to discuss the matter."
Tanzania, ruled first by Germany then by Britain, claims a portion of the 29,600 square kilometre (11,400 square mile) lake, while Malawi, a former British colony, cites a 1890 agreement that stipulates the border between the two countries lies along the Tanzanian shore of the lake.
The two countries intend to discuss the matter in Malawi on August 20.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.