By Confidente Reporter
IN a bid to defuse diplomatic tensions between Namibia and Botswana over amongst other disputes the killing of at least 30 locals at the border by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), the two neighbouring countries are in process of signing a border treaty.
The treaty is the first of its kind for Namibia with her neighbours although one with Zambia remains incomplete as a result of logistical problems with the latter, and another different one with South Africa is ongoing.
said that the desire was reinforced by the resolution of the AU Council of Ministers in charge of borders urging member states to complete the delimitation, reaffirmation and demarcation by 2012 which was postponed to 2017.
“Namibia long recognised the fact that well defined and agreed borders is a prerequisite to good neighbourliness. Namibia consciously embarked on the process delimitation, reaffirmation and demarcation with her neighbours,” Shanghala said.
Shanghala explained that the process started in 2009 with a joint boundary inspection between the two countries and is now being handled by his office and the Ministry of Land Reform on behalf of government. “The draft treaty is the last of the steps in the long process.”
Asked how future disputes between the two countries will be resolved in case of a stalemate, Shanghala said that different mechanisms will be used for resolutions including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands as last resort. “The proposed mechanisms include; amicably through direct negotiation between contracting parties or where the dispute is not resolved; mediation by a mediator appointed by the contracting parties and the African Union dispute settlement. Failure to resolve a dispute related to the application or interpretation of a provision of the present treaty through the different mechanisms, the contracting parties commit themselves to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice.”
While treaties in general also see the free movement of citizens from both countries within close proximity of the border with only their identification documents, Shanghala said that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration will decide the relevant agreements to facilitate the movement of people across the border.
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