LILONGWE, June 2 Malawi has protested against
plans by its neighbour Tanzania to deploy two ships on Lake
Malawi, which it says threaten mediation efforts to resolve a
long-standing border dispute.
Malawi's Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Chiume said on
Saturday that Tanzanian government officials had stated publicly
that the East African nation was buying six new passenger ships,
two of which were destined for Lake Malawi.
"The Malawi government found these developments unfortunate,
especially coming at a time when the mediation process over the
boundary dispute is going smoothly," Chiume said.
Tanzanian officials were not immediately available to
Malawi, which sits to the west of Africa's third-largest
lake, claims the entire northern half of the lake, while
Tanzania, to the east, says it owns half of the northern area.
The southern half is shared between Malawi and Mozambique.
Last month Malawi returned to talks aimed at resolving a
dispute over Lake Malawi that has soured relations between the
two countries and delayed exploration for oil and gas.
It had pulled out of the dialogue in October, accusing its
neighbour of intimidating Malawi fishermen, a charge Tanzania
A year ago, impoverished Malawi awarded oil exploration
licenses to British-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil
in Lake Malawi, which is known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.
(Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by George Obulutsa and