New British High Commissioner Michael Nevin on Wednesday presented letters of credence to President Joyce Banda, marking the renewal of diplomatic ties between Malawi and her former colonial master.
Relations between the two countries soured after Lilongwe, under the Bingu wa Mutharika administration, expelled the then British envoy Fergus Cochrane Dyet after he accused the president, in a leaked diplomatic cable, of fast becoming an autocrat.
In a typical tit-for-tat style, Britain also expelled Flossie Chidyaonga Gomile as Malawiâ€™s envoy days after the diplomatic spat.
Said Nevin: â€œMy presence here represents the re-establishment of a full bilateral relationship and in my short time here, I have been welcomed with great enthusiasm as a symbol of Britainâ€™s return. But the UK [United Kingdom] never abandoned Malawi and we have every intention of developing the relationship further.
â€œI look forward to a new era in our relations and will work hard to bring extra value to our partnership as we go forward together. I humbly request that you allow me to work with you, your Government and the people of Malawi towards a better future of benefit to both our countries.â€
Nevin said Britain will continue to help Malawi in many areas.
â€œOur development assistance programme is broad and significant…Therefore, I will champion Malawi in the UK and internationally. To do so, I need your governmentâ€™s help to demonstrate to all that our renewed confidence in Malawi is well founded,â€ he said.
He applauded steps the Bandaâ€™s administration has taken such as the devaluation of the kwacha and the repeal of laws that restricted democracy and accountability.Â