Malaysia looking to establish embassy in Palestine, says foreign minister

Saifuddin said that the matter won’t be taken to the Cabinet as yet and the establishment of the embassy will not involve Israel. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
Saifuddin said that the matter won’t be taken to the Cabinet as yet and the establishment of the embassy will not involve Israel. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Malaysia hopes to open an embassy in Palestine even though it may be tough going, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said that while it is impractical to do so given the situation, the move is important to enable Malaysia’s extension of aid to the Palestinians, who have been oppressed by the Tel Aviv regime for decades.

“When? That is the second question. But the ambition and commitment must be there, and preparations must start.

“It is the duty and the responsibility of sovereign countries (such as Malaysia) to help the people in countries facing difficult situations and injustices for years, since 1948 (when Israel was formed),” he said to Bernama after attending the recording session of ‘Ruang Bicara’ programme at Wisma Bernama, here, on Monday.

Saifuddin said that the matter won’t be taken to the Cabinet as yet and the establishment of the embassy will not involve Israel, with which Malaysia has no diplomatic relations.

“There are other countries that set up their embassy (in Palestine) but we won’t follow the method of getting acknowledgement from Israel, directly or indirectly. We will definitely deal with Palestine,” he said.

Saifuddin said the proposal is a form of moral support for the Palestinians as well as a way to ease the process for the Palestinians in Malaysia to return to their country.

Asked if the proposal will result in frictions with superpowers such as the United States, Saifuddin said the undertaking will be considered based on national interest rather than gaining favours or fear of other countries.

The plan for a Malaysian embassy in Palestine was mentioned by Saifuddin in his verbal reply to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) in Dewan Rakyat last week.

In the reply, Saifuddin said the ministry is gathering important data regarding the plan and getting feedbacks from parties with offices or representatives in Palestine.

There are more than 30 diplomatic offices and international organisations in Palestine’s Ramallah and Gaza.

Palestine currently has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, while the Ambassador of Malaysia to Egypt is accredited to Palestine. — Bernama

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