Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera said on Saturday that his country intends to establish an embassy in Jerusalem.
Chakwera, who promised reforms after taking office in June, said in his announcement on Saturday that “the reforms will also include a review of our diplomatic presence, including our resolve to have new diplomatic missions in Lagos, Nigeria and Jerusalem, Israel. I will be sharing more details about this in the near future.”
Malawi has had diplomatic relations with Israel since 1964, refusing to budge when it came under pressure to sever relations with the Jewish state following the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland also maintained diplomatic relations.
Chakwera’s statement comes on the heels of the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday that Israel and Kosovo have agreed to establish diplomatic relations, and that Kosovo, along with Serbia, will establish embassies in Jerusalem.
“Kosovo will be the first Muslim majority country to open an embassy in Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu, according to a statement from his office.
“As I have been saying in recent days, the circle of peace and recognition of Israel is expanding and additional countries are expected to join it,” he added.
During a White House summit with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump called Netanyahu to congratulate the two leaders on their decision to establish full diplomatic relations.
Vučić also announced on Friday that his country would also transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, and that it would open a representation there in the meantime.
Netanyahu extended his thanks to Vučić and Trump regarding the move.
“I thank my friend, Serbian President Vučić, for the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer to it his country’s embassy. I would like to thank my friend, President Trump, for his contribution to this achievement. We will continue efforts so that additional European countries will transfer their embassies to Jerusalem,” he said.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, welcomed the diplomatic achievement on Twitter, saying it would “soon lead to more Muslim countries choosing peace with Israel and leaving the rejectionist Palestinians isolated.”