Dodoma — ALL diplomatic channels should be exhausted in a quest to resolve the simmering border conflict with neighbouring Malawi but if need be, the country's armed forces are ready for any eventuality.
"We know the cost of war because of our experience in Uganda. We want to urge the government, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs said in Parliament, that let's exhaust all diplomatic channels but if need be, we are ready to defend our sovereignty at any cost," said Committee Chairman, Edward Lowassa.
Mr Lowassa said this after a briefing of the Committee made by senior Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) officers at Bunge offices here that the army is well prepared for any military confrontation, if diplomacy fails.
The 'Daily News' witnessed a team of infantry, air-force and navy senior officers coming out of the briefing room, some of whom were clad in military fatigues, while others were carrying wall maps apparently showing the disputed waters on Lake Malawi.
"We are satisfied with progress being made by the government on the diplomatic front but also military preparations must be made to make sure that all options are available when it comes to making the final decision," a calm looking Lowassa said while warning on the consequences of war.
In another development, Malawi vowed yesterday to press on with oil and gas exploration on Lake Nyasa, dismissing a demand by Tanzania, which claims half of the lake, to halt prospecting. "We categorically put it to them (Tanzania) that as far as we are concerned, the entire lake belongs to Malawi," Patrick Kabambe, principal secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, said in a statement.
"So our view is that there is no reason to stop the project," he added. Tanzania has claimed that 50 per cent of the lake which forms its border with Malawi is part of its territory.
Tanzanian Foreign Minister Benard Membe urged on Monday that "exploration activities in the northeast part of the lake should be shelved to pave way for the ongoing discussions to resolve the crisis."
Malawi, a former British colony, and Tanzania, once ruled by Germany, are due to hold talks on the disputed border in the northern Malawian town of Mzuzu on August 20.