State President Lazarus Chakwera has maintained the stand made in Parliament on September 10 2020, when he announced his intention to set up a Malawi embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, a move that makes Malawi the first African country to open an embassy in Jerusalem.
Last week Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent his special envoy Hanan Jarrar to deliver a letter to Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe protesting the President’s decision to open the embassy.
However, speaking during the 10th State House Weekly Brief held at Mzuzu State Lodge Monday, State House Director of Communications Sean Kampondeni said the President was happy to engage with Palestine’s special envoy directly on that matter.
“The President was very glad to be able to engage with them directly on that matter, consistent with the position which he articulated on the floor of Parliament on September 10 when he was asked about the same and President Chakwera could not have been clearer on that.
“[It is] about his approach to foreign policy being dictated simply on the advancement of national interest of Malawi and that does not mean that if Malawi has bilateral relations with one nation it cannot have [the same] with another.
“But the President is in support of the peace process in the relationship between Israel and Palestine to ensure that there is continuation in pursuit of solutions which, obviously, requires cool heads at the table at the international level and the President believes that he can contribute to that discourse,” Kampondeni said
The Palestinian special envoy last week told the media that the decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem defied international laws and United Nations resolutions.
She said Palestine was shocked by the pronouncement by Chakwera to open an embassy in Jerusalem, saying Security Council resolution 476 of 1980 and resolution 2334 of 2016 decided not to recognise any action that seeks to alter the character and status of Jerusalem.
Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka recently was in Israel, where he described the move to open an embassy in Jerusalem as “a bold and significant step,” and his counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi said: “I look forward to your embassy opening soon, and I’m sure that more African leaders will follow this decision.”
Jerusalem is considered holy to the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions.