African Union (AU) chairperson Dr Thomas Boni Yayi, who is also President of Benin, has hailed Malawi and Tanzania for their efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the Lake Malawi border dispute.
During his visit to Malawi on Tuesday evening, Yayi also pledged AU’s assistance to the two countries in their bid to resolve the issue amicably.
He made the remarks after holding talks with President Joyce Banda in Lilongwe during his one-day visit to the country.
Yayi said during his meeting with Banda, they discussed several issues, including the Lake Malawi border dispute and how African countries can work together and support each other in seeking economic and social development.
He said: “The President briefed me about the dispute with Tanzania. I am very happy that you are seeking peaceful resolution and that you are going for mediation by former presidents. I urge you and Tanzania to find very good solutions to the problem.”
Yayi also said as AU chairperson, he will do all he can to assist the two countries resolve the matter in a peaceful way. He could not immediately say what assistance the AU will provide in support of the process.
Yayi, who is on a tour of several African countries ahead of the AU Summit scheduled for January 27 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, arrived in Malawi on Tuesday evening and went straight to Kamuzu Palace where he met Banda before flying out hours later.
He also called on African countries to work closely with each other, saying that a problem for one country is a concern to all African countries.
Yayi called for economic integration within the African continent.
“Africa needs to speak to Africa, Africans need to trade with Africa and Africa needs to invest in Africa,” he added.
Kibaki in Malawi
In a related development, Kenyan president Mwayi Kibaki arrived in Malawi on Wednesday morning for a two-day State visit.
Soon after his arrival, Kibaki visited the City of Lilongwe Civic Centre where he was conferred the Freedom of the City status. The ceremony included his signing the visitors’ book, Freeman’s Law and presentation of a symbolic key and scroll.
Kibaki, who was also expected to hold private discussions with Banda on Wednesday, is this Thursday scheduled to lay a wreath at the mausoleum of Malawi’s founding president the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda before inaugurating the construction of the Lilongwe West By-pass Road.
In an interview soon after arrival, Kibaki said he is in Malawi as one way of strengthening and developing close relations and understanding between Malawi and Kenya.
And in his address to guests who included Banda at the Lilongwe Civic Centre, Kibaki said the relationship between the two countries dates back to the days of Kamuzu Banda when he was in London.