CSOs gave a deadline of Wednesday for the conclusion of PCDG talks because of slow progress they blamed on government side.
But Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Professor Peter Mutharika on Saturday asked for patience because the issues raised are complicated and require adequate time.
He was speaking in Malawiâ€™s commercial city, Blantyre, after meeting the director general of the UN headquarters in Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya, Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde, on the progress of the dialogue.
Said Mutharika: â€œYou must understand that the talks have been going on for seven months. That is not a long time. Talks go on for months, even years. I think there is a need for patience. Deadlines may not be very helpful. We need to work together towards a particular solution.
â€œThis is our country. We all want peace in this country. Let us allow the process to continue and aim at trying to conclude this thing as quickly as possible so that the process continues and finally succeedsâ€.
He said government takes the dialogue seriously and he thanked Zewde for working hard in facilitating the talks. Mutharika said he also briefed her about the preparation for the African Union (AU) summit Malawi will host and his meeting with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
No quick fixes
Zewde noted the slow pace of dialogue but said that there were no quick fixes.
Said Zewde: â€œThe dialogue agenda is the 20-point petition and we have been discussing with the parties to reach an agreement on the issues. The issue is to show seriousness in the way they are handled. The talks were interrupted last month but they are back on track.â€
Council for non-governmental organisationsâ€™ (Congoma) board chairperson Voice Mhone is on record as saying CSOs were sticking to the March 28 deadline.