Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka on official visit in Israel has met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he formally informed him about President Lazarus Chakwera’s decision to open Malawi embassy in Jerusalem, the Jewish state’s capital city a move which has been described as a consequential foreign policy decision for the Tonse Alliance led administration.
Netanyahu told Mkaka that President Chakwera should be hailed for decision to open Malawi embassy to Jerusalem, “which is our eternal capital from the time of King David. So, we welcome you as a friend. We welcome Malawi as a friend. We’ve always had excellent relations and they’re going to be even better.”
The Israel leader pointed out that Israel recently established diplomatic relations with Sudan and Chad, and said it is part of his efforts to expand Israel’s ties in Africa.
Netanyahu also said he expects increased cooperation between Israel and Malawi in the areas of agriculture, health and cybersecurity and “every area that I think lends itself to cooperation.”
He said: “I welcome you in the spirit of cooperation and friendship. Welcome. Please convey my best wishes to the president [Lazarus Chakwera]. I look forward to seeing him here in the Malawi embassy in Jerusalem. As we say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’”
Netanyahu told Mkaka: “We welcome you and Malawi as friends. We always had excellent relations.”
On Wednesday, Malawi opposed or abstained on all three annual UN votes condemning Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.
But the decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem has been divisive in Malawi.
In an editorial comment, Malawi’s leading daily newspaper, The Nation on Friday said they can only pray that Chakwera has not bought into the idea “propagated by fellow evangelicals that setting up an embassy in Israel and recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will somehow deliver the much awaited ‘rapture’ to join believers with their God.”
Chakwera is a former evangelical preacher.
The paper stated that a government that makes “such a divisive decision must invest a lot of thought in it and level with Malawians and the international community.”
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.
Chakwera’s decision follows that of US President Donald Trump, who in December 2017 — breaking with longstanding diplomatic practice — recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy to the city in May this year.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :