LILONGWE- Tanzanian foreign minister Bernard Membe said Saturday there will not be a "quick fix to negotiated settlement" on the Lake Malawi border dispute with her neighbour Malawi.
"It's not a rush to negotiated settlement. There is no quick fix to negotiated settlement. It is a long way with corners, sometimes with sharp corners, but we must negotiate through and we negotiate because we want a solution," Membe said at the opening of a ministerial meeting on the dispute here in the adminisrtative capital Lilongwe.
He said the misunderstanding could only be solved "through a negotiated settlement...it is not an option. This is a serious business that requires serious minds.”
Technical experts from the two countries on Friday ended five days of talks about their border on Lake Malawi, a long-ignored dispute with new importance as oil exploration gets under way in the region.
The experts presented their recommendations to the ministers but a final decision will be made by the two heads of state, Malawian officials said.
Membe said: "Each side has a serious case.If you think that the other side has no serious case, that is self deception."
At issue is a largely undeveloped swath of the lake, where Lilongwe has awarded a licence to British firm Surestream to explore for oil in northeastern waters near Tanzania.
Malawi claims the lake under an 1890 agreement whose validity is disputed
Membe urged the two states to endure on the talks, saying "neighbours must endure, neighbours must always remain neighbours and we are here because of differences in positions."
He said whatever the outcome of the negotiations, "the basis must be scientific for generations to come."
On the other hand, his Malawian counterpart Ephraim Mganda Chiume said the two countries wanted a "quick solution" to the issue.
"This issue has been going on for too long...it has brought tension among our people and the feeling is that we should resolve it for our people to continue to co-exist in peace."
He appealed for "amicable discussions and hopefully we should come up with long lasting and amicable solution."
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