Tanzania says military option on the table over border disputeBy THE CITIZEN | Wednesday, August 8 2012 at 16:31
Tanzania’s parliamentary defence and foreign affairs committee chairman Edward Lowassa said all options - including military - were on the table in the country's dispute with Malawi over ownership of Lake Nyasa (Malawi).
However, he stressed that the legislature supported all efforts by the government to resolve the Lake Nyasa border dispute.
“We expect this conflict will be solved diplomatically using a committee of foreign affairs ministers from both countries and using the mediator whenever needed. Malawi is our neighbour and therefore we would not like to go into [sic] war with it.” Lowassa told reporters in Dodoma.
Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Monday demanded an immediate stop by Malawi to all oil and gas prospecting activities on parts of Lake Nyasa lying within Tanzania’s borders.
The chairman defence and foreign affairs committee chairman said the military option was available in case matters came to this.
“If it reaches the war stage then we are ready to sacrifice our people’s blood and our military forces are committed. Our army is among [the] modern and stable defence forces in the world,” said the chairman.
The chairman said he could neither confirm nor deny when asked whether the military has been deployed to the disputed border.
“That one I cannot answer”, he said.
The government was categorical that Malawi should respect agreements and remove all aircraft landing on the lake to allow for negotiations to proceed.
The Lake Nyasa border dispute has existed for a long time. In 2005 both countries are agreed to review the boundaries but negotiations have since stalled.
Tanzania claims 50 per cent share of the lake while Malawi claims the whole lake.
The lake is believed to contain significant oil and gas reserves that have attracted a number of prospecting firms.
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