Tanzania envoy to Malawi, Patrick Tsere has dismissed assertions that the unveiling of a new map was an act of provocation. Malawi pulled out of negotiations earlier in the month after Tanzania issued a new map and placed a patrol boat on the disputed lake.
However, Mr Tsere told the press that the new map was only for administrative purposes and urged Malawi to return to the negotiation table.
“The new map is merely for administration purpose. Tanzania has created 19 districts, which are not appearing on the new map,” he said.
Mr Tsere dismissed assertions that Tanzania was aggressive on the issue of the lake, saying it was the late President of Malawi Bingu wa Mutharika who wrote to Tanzania urging the two countries to conclude issues surrounding the ownership of the water mass.
“We will continue with the dialogue. No date has been set yet. We are waiting for the attorney-generals of the two countries to give their legal opinions on the matter,” he said.
Malawi’s minister for Foreign Affairs Ephraim Chiume said Lilongwe would return to the negotiation table in due course.
Malawi reported the lake wrangle to the African Union and the United Nations following Tanzania’s unveiling of the new map.
Malawi is planning to hire foreign lawyers to back the country’s claim that it owned the whole lake, based on the 1890 treaty between the colonial masters, Britain and Germany.