The Blantyre Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbytery (CCAP) has added its voice for President Lazarus Chakwera to reverse his plans to open Malawi embassy in Jerusalem, a city contested for by Israel and Palestine.
Blantyre Synod general secretary the Reverend Billy Gama said Malawi’s decision to open its mission in Jerusalem and not Tel Aviv is a risky decision.
“Malawi will be the first country in Africa to open its offices there. There has been resistance to this move in the country, I think government need to hold on the Jerusalem move and get wider consultations on its foreign policy,” Gama said.
The former aide to late president Bingu wa Mutharika pointed out the move by the Malawi government is against United Nations resolutions and that Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas protest letter to Chakwera through a special envoy should also be considered.
Blantyre Synod’s comments comes after Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) warned President Chakwera that his administration’s decision to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem puts the country at risk of deplorable consequences from some Arab nations.
MAM asked Chakwera to maintain the status quo in its long-time relationship with Israel by using Israel’s non-resident ambassador based in Nairobi, Kenya or in other countries closer.
Former Malawi ambassador to Japan John Chikago asked the President to tread carefully, saying the essence of diplomacy is to build bridges and not break them.
Chakwera has insisted that Malawi will proceed with its plan to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem despite continued resistance and protests from Palestine.
When he appeared before Parliament in September to answer ques t ions from legislators, the President stressed that Malawi was a sovereign State free to establish diplomatic relationships with any country provided it is for the benefit of Malawian people.
Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka called the decision a “bold and significant step”.
He informed Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting last week that the Malawi diplomatic offices in Jerusalem will be opened summer 2022 and President Chakwera is set to make a State visit.
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 capital of a future state.
Given the city’s disputed status and sensitivity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most countries that have embassies in Israel have opened them in its commercial capital of Tel Aviv.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :