13 June 2012

Mozambique: Border Demarcation to Resume in July

Maputo — Mozambique and Malawi are expected to resume the delimiting of their joint border in July, after a six month suspension due to conflicting interpretations.

A consensus was reached on Monday at a meeting in the city of Tete, in western Mozambique, during which both countries agreed to resume the demarcation exercise which started in 2009.

The Mozambican delegation was headed by Jose Elias Mucombo, the Director of Borders at the National Institute for Sea and Border Affairs.

According to Wednesday's issue of the daily newspaper "Noticias", Mucombo said that besides reaching consensus on the interpretation of the agreement, both countries also agreed on procedures for employing temporary workers to move equipment along the border, particularly in remote and inaccessible regions.

Mucombo explained that there is a 76 kilometre stretch of the border yet to be demarcated, of which 25 kilometres is in dense forest. "It is a barely accessible region. We even considered using helicopters to move equipment, but after calculating the cost we realised that neither the Mozambican nor Malawian governments are in a position to cover such an expense. Therefore, we agreed to hire temporary workers", explained Mucombo.

There is also a stretch of 51 kilometres that remains to be completed in the district of Milange, in the central province of Zambezia.

"Fortunately, we have solved two of the sticking points, particularly the most delicate point which was the interpretation of the agreement. By 20 July we want to have teams deployed on ground to resume our work", said Mucombo.

The demarcation of the border is to replace the original boundary markers stretching along the 1,400 kilometre border, which is composed of 900 kilometres of land, 322 kilometres of lakes and 190 kilometres of rivers.

As for other neighbouring countries, Mucombo said that a technical meeting was held last week with Tanzania, and an agreement was reached that mapping issues should be carried out before resuming the process of demarcation.

Mucombo hopes to shortly complete the process of border demarcation with Zambia.

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