President Lazarus Chakwera has insisted that Malawi will proceed with its plan to open a diplomatic mission in the Israeli city of Jerusalem despite continued resistance and protests from Palestine.
Speaking during the Weekly State House Briefings held at Mzuzu State Lodge yesterday, State House director of communication and executive assistant to the President, Sean Kampondeni, said the President stood by the Jerusalem decision last Thursday when he met Palestine’s South Africa-based Ambassador and special envoy to Malawi Hanan Jarrar in Lilongwe.
He said the special envoy came to Malawi to register her government’s point of view regarding Malawi’s decision to restore full bilateral relations with Israel with the intent of setting up an embassy in Jerusalem.
Said Kampondeni: “The Palestine authority wanted to register their point of view and the President was very glad to be able to engage with them directly on that matter in consistence with his position which he articulated before Parliament on September 10th when he was asked about the same.
“President Chakwera came out clear on that one, about his approach to foreign policy being dictated simply and only by the advancement of national interest of Malawi.
“That does not mean that if Malawi has bilateral relations with one nation, it cannot have relations with the other. The President is fully supportive of the peace process and the relationship between Israel and Palestine.”
When he appeared before Parliament in September to answer questions from legislators, Chakwera acknowledged the debate on his decision to open a mission in Jerusalem, but stressed that Malawi was a sovereign State free to establish diplomatic relationships with any country provided it is for the benefit of the Malawian people.
Briefing journalists after meeting the President last week, Jarrar said she presented to Chakwera a letter from Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas expressing concern and an appeal for Malawi to reconsider its decision on Jerusalem.
In September, Israel Ambassador Oded Joseph, who is based in Kenya, said there was no controversy in Malawi’s decision because Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Earlier, Professor Happy Kayuni, an expert in public policy and administration and teaches at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said Malawi already has strong ties with Israel; hence, it would be better if the current government avoided the Jerusalem controversy to avert unnecessary negative attention.
There is an unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine over East Jerusalem. Out of 89 countries with diplomatic missions in Israel, only the United States of America and Guatemala have embassies in Jerusalem where about 13 others operate consulates and the rest are in Tel Aviv.
Since 2017, outgoing US President Donald Trump has been leading a campaign to have Jerusalem recognised as the capital of Israel.
But when the question was asked at the UN General Assembly in December the same year, 128 countries voted against the US proposal, nine were in favour and 35, including Malawi, were absentees. Togo is the only African country to have voted in favour of the US.
ranged from 29 (Dedza) to 34 degrees Celsius (Kasungu and Chitedze).highest temperatures
In the Northern Region, the highest temperatures ranged from 27 (Mzuzu) to 36 degrees Celsius (Nkhata Bay).
According to the statement, the country experiences such extreme hot weather conditions in October and November due to a pre-seasonal heating of the atmosphere which is a requirement to attract weather systems that generate rains in the country.
The statement further states that the extreme hot weather is likely to continue until Thursday this week before it cools down. “The high temperatures are expected to drop due to a passage of a wave of thunderstorm activities which are expected to quench the souring heat that is being experienced across the country due to the high temperatures,” further reads the statement.