Malawi and Tanzania will not go to war with each other President Jakaya Kikwete and his Malawian counterpart, Ms Joyce Banda, stated
Meanwhile the two leaders have called for patience as a joint committee works to
find a lasting solution to the Lake Nyasa border dispute.
joint press conference convened at the Mozambican capital, Maputo, on
Friday night, the two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to pursue
diplomatic channels to ensure the wrangle was resolved amicably.
has been so much hype in the media and various blogs about military
action between Tanzania and Malawi. But all this is misleading. We have
never on our part considered that option," said President Kikwete,
noting that such talks were creating unnecessary fear and tension among
the people of the two countries.
"I am the Commander-in-chief and
have not given any order for military action. I therefore would like to
reassure our people that we have no plans to go to war with our
neighbours over this or any other issue that can be resolved
diplomatically," stated President Kikwete.
Kikwete said the committee
comprising officials from Malawi and Tanzania are set to meet in Mzuzu
and Lilongwe between August 20 and 25, and ought to be given time to
come up with a workable solution to the saga.
He insisted that
there were numerous ways to resolve the crisis, but war was not one of
them. Ms Banda said she was grateful for the opportunity to meet her
Tanzanian counterpart and quell rumours that the latter was
contemplating military action.
"Malawians have been uneasy
following these rumors and war reports. That is why we needed to talk.
We know that Tanzanians and Malawians are peace loving people, hence no
need for us to fight," said Ms Banda, noting that many Malawians had
Tanzanian relatives; hence they were one people and family.
added that she was returning home happy and satisfied following her
Tanzanian counterpart's assurances that the dispute would be resolved
without a bullet having to be fired. The conflict between the two
countries followed move by Malawi to award an oil exploration licence to
UK-based Surestream Petroleum last October to search for oil and gas in
Tanzania has since asked the Malawi government to
put on hold the exploration exercise until the border dispute, in which
it claims portion of the lake, is resolved, a stand Malawi disputes
claiming total sovereignty of the whole lake.