Malawi to Open Embassy in Jerusalem

Malawi president (Amos Gumulira / AFP / Getty)
Amos Gumulira / AFP / Getty

Malawi announced Saturday that it would open an embassy in Jerusalem, making it the third country to do so over the weekend.

The first two were Serbia and Kosovo, with the latter agreeing to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, an Evangelical and ardent pro-Israel supporter, announced a series of reforms to his country’s Foreign Ministry.

“The reforms will also include a review of our diplomatic presence, including our resolve to have new diplomatic missions in Lagos, Nigeria, and Jerusalem, Israel. I will be sharing more details about this in the near future,” he said.

If Chakwera goes through with his promise, it would be the first African country to take this step.

While the east African country shares relations with Israel, neither country has an embassy in the other’s territory. Jerusalem’s ambassador to Lilongwe, Oded Joseph, is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The only two countries to have relocated their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem are the U.S. and Guatemala.

Australia, Brazil, Honduras and Hungary have opened diplomatic trade missions in the Israeli capital.

During a secret meeting in Entebbe in February, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the possibility of establishing  embassies in each other’s territory.

“You open an embassy in Jerusalem, I’ll open an embassy in Kampala. And we hope to do this in the near future,” Netanyahu told Museveni.

“We’re studying that,” Museveni replied.

Serbia’s surprise announcement that it was opening an embassy in Jerusalem marked the first time a European country has pledged to do so. Kosovo’s announcement would be the first embassy in Jerusalem from a Muslim-majority nation.

“The circle of peace and recognition of Israel is expanding and additional countries are expected to join it,” Netanyahu said in a statement following the announcements.

In light of the news, the Palestinian Authority threatened to cut ties with any country that opens an embassy in Jerusalem.

 

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