After President Peter Mutharika promised that Malawi, traditionally dependent on Western aid donors, will look for “new friends” in countries such as China and Russia, his government has moved in to seek expansion of bilateral relations with Iran and will open an embassy in Tehran.
Malawian Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Allan Chiyembekeza, who is on a visit to Iran heading an economic and commercial delegation said Mutharika government is committed to to extend cooperation with Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states including Iran.
Lilongwe has maintained relations with Tehran since the 1970s but has never established resident ties and now Malawi plans to open an embassy in Tehran.
The administration of Mutharika has clearly embarked on a financially-motivated policy path, perhaps wishing to expand the donor base by seeking out new aid contributors who would be less conditionality-minded and less critical of human rights and governance
Mutharika declared that foreign policy would be based on what is best for Malawi.
“We will continue with traditional relationships, but we are now looking for new friends in emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Russia,” Mutharika declared when he was inaugurated in June as Malawi leader.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian congratulated the election Mutharika as Malawi’s new president and praised Lilongwe’s policy of developing ties with members of the Non-Aligned Movement
He also stressed Iran’s preparedness for enhancing economic and commercial cooperation with Malawi.
Expansion of relations with African countries in all political, economic and cultural fields is top on the agenda of the Iranian foreign policy.