Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka on Saturday returned from a visit in Israel stressing that nothing will change President Lazarus Chakwera’s decision to establish a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem by the summer of 2021 despite that it violates a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution.
Chakwera, 65, holds a PhD in theology and has long been supportive of the Jewish state, which he last visited last year before being elected President in the court sanctioned rerun on June 23.
Israel considers the Holy City its eternal capital, but Palestinians want East Jerusalem, seized in a 1967 Middle East war, as part of a future state.
Mkaka told reporters on Saturday on arrival from Jerusalem, Israel where he went at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, Gabi Ashkenazi that Malawi Embassy would be in western Jerusalem.
“Malawi being party to international conventions, protocols and instruments will always respect them. We will always remain committed to respecting the independence of any state,” he said.
Mkaka said Israel will help Malawi build a better future, for the next generation, disclosing that Israel has undertaken to increase the number of beneficiaries to 200 per year from 40 for advanced agriculture technologies training.
He said currently 40 students from Natural Resources College (NRC) go to Israel annually to have hands on training for use of advanced agriculture technologies.
“We discussed issues of mutual interest. We agreed to continue cooperation in agriculture,” Mkaka said.
The Minister said upon return students are expected to start their own farming activities.
He said the two governments agreed to closely work together in resettling the students and that the government of Malawi would facilitate essential elements of the programme including land identification.
“At the end of their 11 months training, the students are provided with a start-up capital of US$ 10,000. The initiative in in line with government policy of creating 1 million jobs among the youth in the country,” Mkaka said.
The Minister said Israel would send an agriculture expert who would be attached to Ministry of Agriculture to support the implementation of the internship programme.
He said Israel has offered another 75 scholarships to Malawians to be trained in various fields.
Mkaka also said Israel made a commitment to support Malawi’s efforts in developing a national cancer centre at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe.
He said it was pleasing to note that Israel was one of the countries that supported Malawi’s candidature to Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Luckie Sikwese said every country has a right to solicit support form members states when vying for a seat in an organization.
The UN Security Council resolution does not recognise the city as Israel’s capital due to a long standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The African Union (AU) has also previously passed several anti-Israel resolutions.
Opposition members of Malawi’s parliament have recently also raised concern about opening an embassy in Jerusalem, but President Chakwera — a former preacher — has been firm on the move.
Chakwera justified his foreign policy decision, saying that it was not new in Malawi, as during the one-party regime of founding President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the country also had diplomatic ties with Israel until 1994.
Malawi would become the first African nation to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital following in the footsteps of Guatemala in South America and the United States of America (USA) which recognised it in December 2017.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :