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Reconsider decision on Jerusalem—Palestine

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Eisenhower Mkaka

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has urged President Lazarus Chakwera not to go ahead with the decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem, Israel.

On Thursday, Abbas sent special envoy Hanan Jarrar, who delivered a letter to Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

But Chakwera’s spokesperson Brian Banda asked for time to consult.

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Speaking after presenting the letter, Jarrar said the decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem defied international laws and United Nations resolutions.

“We are not against Malawi having diplomatic ties with Israel. We are against Malawi opening an embassy in Jerusalem. Malawi can open an embassy anywhere, like Tel Aviv,” Jarrar said.

She said Security Council Resolution 476 of 1980 and Resolution 2334 of 2016 speak against any action that seeks to alter the character and status of Jerusalem.

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Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, although that is not recognised by most countries. Palestinians seek the city’s east, which Israel captured in a 1967 war, as the capital of a future state.

Given the city’s disputed status, most countries that have embassies in Israel have opened them in its commercial capital of Tel Aviv.

The United States (US) president Donald Trump enraged Palestinians and angered some world leaders by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in late 2017. He moved the US embassy there the following year.

On Tuesday Foreign Affairs Minister Eisenhower Mkaka said Malawi would open a full embassy in Jerusalem by the summer of 2021.

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