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Lake Nyasa Border Dispute Continues into Mediation

Monday, August, 18, 2014

A border dispute between the countries of Tanzania and Malawi “will not go into war” but will continue with an ongoing mediation process, according to the President of Malawi.


Delays in meeting with the mediation panel were attributed to the Malawian elections and the desire to have a settled government involved in the mediation process.  Any suggestion that the delays are due to resistance to the idea of mediating the dispute was rejected.


Lake Nyasa is the ninth largest lake in the world and has been claimed by Malawi for more than a century.  The dispute has to do with the location of the precise border between the two countries, with Tanzania insisting the border is in the middle of the lake while Malawi insists the entire volume of the lake is under their jurisdiction.  Suspicions that vast oil deposits will be found under the lake are spurring the sudden dispute between the two countries.


Malawi allowed a British corporation to explore the lake and surrounding region for oil and natural gas and the results were extremely encouraging, sparking renewed interest in defining the border.  While Tanzania has threatened to take the dispute to an international arbitration panel, they later agreed to a more low-key mediation process that has yet to be officially scheduled.  Officials and former officials of several surrounding African nations have been named as part of the panel.


Neither country has made any effort to mobilize armed forces over the dispute despite the Malawian Presidents frequent references to war