Malawi says it expects that the next meeting with Tanzania in Dar salaam over a border dispute will put the matter to rest and not simply serve to 'delay and derail' a proposal by Lilongwe to have the matter referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a legal settlement.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Chiume said although Malawi is pursuing the path of diplomacy in its quest to resolve the 50 plus-year-old misunderstanding, her position is the dispute is legal in nature thus qualifying for presentation before the ICJ.
"In Malawi, we feel this issue has been going on for too long and must be put to rest.
"We also believe that it can impact negatively on the economic well-being of both Tanzania and Malawi. So we pray that that meeting in Dar es Salaam will give us a clear way forward to see whether what has been proposed will add value to the proposal that we should go to the International Court of Justice," Chiume said.
He observed that the purpose of the meetings was really for the two sides to reach common ground which they have so far failed to reach, prompting Malawi to propose the option of going to ICJ.
But Chiume said Tanzania had said there were still a variety of options to have the matter resolved.
"We would like to see if the mediation process will add value to the proposal that Malawi made of going to the International Court of Justice. We will go for the option which will not delay the process," Chiume said.
However, Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Bernard Membe said Dar salaam feels the option of ICJ should come after the exhaustion of other available negotiation settlement avenues such as involvement of a third party, an arbitration or mediation of some kind.
Malawi advanced the option of the two seeking redress at the ICJ, but Tanzania was reluctant.
The two sides expressed their positions at the end of a ministerial level meeting where cardinal differences between them remained on the table necessitating another round of talks in September.
Meanwhile, the two sides have agreed that their countries should refrain from making inflammatory statements that could infuriate or instill fear in the citizens of their nations.
And the attorney generals of Malawi and Tanzania have since been called to duty to each interpret Section 1 (ii) part (vi) of the Heligoland Treaty which the Tanzania side believes allows their country to negotiate a share of and therefore ownership of the portion of the lake currently being disputed.
"Committees will have a range of options to discuss before going to the ICJ and then I and my colleague, the minister, will have time to choose the best option to recommend to our leaders," Membe said.
Malawi is using the same Heligoland Treaty of 1890 to claim ownership of the whole lake and backing it up with resolutions of the Organisation of African Union (OAU) in 1963 which evolved to African Union (AU).