Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila says he will spend an additional two days in the United States of America (USA) to resolve some issues affecting the Malawi missions in Washington and New York.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe on Friday, Kasaila said government has taken advantage of the 2016 United Nations (UN) General Assembly Special Session on HIV and Aids trip to visit Malawi’s two diplomatic offices in America—in Washington DC and the UN in New York— from June 8 to 10 to handle the issues.
He said: “As a cost-cutting measure, government has decided to add two more days to the trip to allow some officials from the ministry to undertake other activities in its missions in the USA.”
Kasaila said government could have spent more money on return tickets to America, but the UN-sponsored trip has only made it top-up allowances for the extra two days.
While in New York and Washington, the minister said they will proceed with a recall programme which will see a number of officers recalled. Some have already received letters on the same.
Under the reforms programme, Malawi is recalling 82 diplomats from its foreign missions and plans to reduce the number of staff further by next year.
Government has so far reduced the number of diplomats in established positions from 234 to 152 this year. The number is expected to reach 126 by next year. The number of local staff in the foreign missions has also gone down from 217 to 184, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.