Malawi plans to open an embassy in Israel and and place it in Jerusalem, making it the first African state to do so in recent decades, Malawian Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka announced Tuesday during a visit to Israel. Malawi, which does not have an embassy in Israel, plans to open one by next summer, he said.Malawi is a “pioneer,” and the decision is “further proof of the ties between the country and the widening of the circle of peace,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.“Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the State of Israel, will be a bridge of peace for the whole world, and I call on more countries to follow in Malawi’s path and move their embassies to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” he said.The United States and Guatemala are the only countries that have embassies in Jerusalem, although several other others have said they would open one, including Brazil, Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, Honduras, Moldova, Romania and the Czech Republic.Since its founding in 1964, Malawi is one of the few African states with which Israel has had continuous diplomatic relations. It has provided Malawi with aid, especially in agriculture, for many years.
Ivory Coast, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Kenya were among 16 countries that opened embassies in Jerusalem starting in the 1950s, and closed them following the Yom Kippur War, when may African states cut ties with Israel. When they reestablished diplomatic relations in the 1980s, they opened embassies in the Tel Aviv area.In a joint statement, Ashkenazi committed to have an Israeli development expert posted in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital, and to introduce courses for Malawi from MASHAV, the Foreign Ministry’s development agency.Mkaka thanked Israel for its support through initiatives that “will contribute towards the country’s food security strategy and accelerated and sustained socioeconomic development of the people of Malawi.”Ashkenazi invited Malawian President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera to visit Israel.