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Malawi to open Israel embassy in Jerusalem

Malawi has had diplomatic ties with the Jewish state since 1964 but without opening an embassy.

This picture taken on June 30, 2020 shows a view of Israel's controversial separation barrier between the West Bank city of Abu Dis (L) and East Jerusalem (R). Picture: AFP.

JERUSALEM - Malawi is to become the first African country to follow the US example and open an embassy to Israel in the disputed city of Jerusalem, their foreign ministers announced Tuesday.

"I'm sure that more African leaders will follow this decision," Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told reporters after a meeting with his Malawian counterpart Eisenhower Mkaka.

"I would like to congratulate the Malawian government on the important decision to be the pioneer, and the first African country to establish its embassy in Jerusalem," he said.

Mkaka said he delivered a message from President Lazarus Chakwera on the decision to open a Jerusalem embassy, expected by summer 2021.

Malawi has had diplomatic ties with the Jewish state since 1964 but without opening an embassy.

Breaking with longstanding diplomatic practice, President Donald Trump in December 2017 recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the US embassy to the city in May.

Israel considers the holy city its eternal capital, but Palestinians want East Jerusalem, seized in a 1967 Middle East war, as part of a future state.

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