TANZANIA has called on the Republic of Malawi Government and the companies carrying out exploration of oil and gas in the eastern part of Lake Nyasa to stop doing so until a standoff between the two countries over the ownership of the lake is resolved.
Speaking to reporters after the end of the two-day meeting of both countries, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe stated categorically that Tanzania wants all the exploration activities in the north east part of the lake to be shelved to pave way for the on-going discussions to resolve the crisis.
"We told our colleagues from the Republic of Malawi that any exploration or research activities for oil and gas prospects must stop forthwith as their presence was likely to jeopardize the on-going negotiations and pose a security threat," the minister noted.
The minister also said that Tanzania's security authorities have also spotted some aircrafts claimed to belong to the oil and gas researching companies from Malawi flying in the Tanzania airspace without a permit from the Tanzania Aviation Authority.
Malawi claimed they were not aware of the incident. In this stand-off, Tanzania is seeking 50 per cent of the ownership of the lake while Malawi claims 100 percent ostensibly that the whole part of the lake under dispute belonged to Malawi.
He said the purpose of the meeting aimed at reviving the stalled negotiations on the delineation, demarcation,delimitation and re-affirmation of the boundaries between Tanzania and Malawi on the lake and setting up a roadmap and programme of implementation for the boundary programme.
The two countries also stressed the importance of resolving the issue of boundary on the lake diplomatically. Another meeting at the level of Joint Committee of Experts, Joint Committee of Officials and the Council of Ministers on Malawi/Tanzania Boundary is scheduled to take place in Mzuzuon 20 August, 2012.
Tanzania's delegation at the meeting was led by Mr Membe and Malawi's delegation was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Ephraim Mganda Chiume.