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Fresh objection to Jerusalem embassy


Rejoice Shumba

A group calling itself Palestine Solidarity Movement Malawi (PSMM) has asked the Government of Malawi to reconsider its stance on the Palestinian crisis and rescind its decision to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.

In a letter dated August 17 and addressed to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) in Malawi, the office of the Speaker of the Malawi Parliament, Foreign Affairs Secretary, United Nations organisations and diplomatic missions, the group says Lilongwe’s decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, defies international law.

“We also note with great disappointment that Malawi voted against the investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council on atrocities and war crimes in Gaza, where the rights of people have grossly debased and lives of innocent civilians, particularly children, have been lost,” reads the statement which PSMM Coordinator Asabuni Phiri has signed.

However, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Rejoice Shumba said the ministry was yet to officially get the letter of complaint from the group.

“Like any other country, Malawi depends on and trusts available diplomatic channels to resolve issues such as these; so, we will wait for the letter to reach us so that we can respond accordingly, “Shumba said.

On steps Malawi has taken so far to open the embassy in Jerusalem, Shumba said the Covid pandemic had delayed the whole process.

“We are still in the early stages, which involves consultations, fact-finding missions and other initiatives before going on the ground to open our offices there,” Shumba said.

An announcement by President Lazarus Chakwera to open a Malawi embassy in Jerusalem has drawn mixed reactions from some countries.

In November last year, Palestine Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas sent his special envoy Hanan Jarrar to deliver a letter of protest to Chakwera after the announcement, which Foreign Affairs Minister Eisenhower Mkaka made.

Jarrar told journalists, after holding talks with Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, that Palestine was shocked with Lilongwe’s decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem a city claimed by both Palestine and Israel.

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