Malaysia to have honorary consuls in Ramallah, Gaza

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says a consulate-general may be appointed in Istanbul to be where ‘the action is’.

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is planning to appoint honorary consuls in Palestine’s Ramallah and Gaza next year.

This will be in addition to the recently-announced Malaysian embassy accredited to Palestine in Jordan, said Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said this would allow Malaysia to have representations on both sides of Palestine.

“In 2020, we will establish our embassy in Amman. This is because it is impossible to have our office in Ramallah as you have to have some kind of arrangement with Israel and we cannot do that.

“In fact, what will happen is we will have two offices (embassies) — one for Jordan and one for Palestine and, of course, two ambassadors,” he told Bernama.

He noted that this marks the first time Malaysia will have an ambassador dedicated to Palestine, as currently the Malaysian ambassador to Egypt is also accredited to Palestine.

When asked on the execution of the plan, Saifuddin said Malaysia is in discussions with Jordan on the matter.

“We need an agreement from Jordan to allow us to operate another embassy. As soon as we get their permission, we will be sending our people,” he said.

The foreign minister also revealed that Malaysia is reviewing all its missions abroad.

Among the line-up for next year is the opening of a consulate-general in Istanbul as Saifuddin felt it is important to have a representation where most of the “action” in Turkey is taking place.

“Ankara is the capital and Malaysia has an embassy there. But it’s like you don’t have an office in New York but just an office in Washington DC,” he said.

He also hinted at the possibility of opening Malaysia’s diplomatic mission in Ethiopia as the African country is one of Malaysia’s major palm oil buyers.

The foreign minister also said Malaysia will be appointing honorary consuls in Libya, Iraq and Yemen next year after earlier “deactivating” the embassies in these countries following some “problems” there.

“We have a very active honorary consul in Damascus (Syria) and that is effective and very helpful.

“We are now doing due diligence on the candidates as honorary consuls in Libya, Iraq and Yemen,” he said.