Malawi will open an embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the first African state to do so, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi announced on Tuesday.
It will be the third embassy opened in Jerusalem, following similar steps by the United States and Guatemala.
In a video statement shared online, Malawian Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka called it a "bold and significant step". Ashkenazi also tweeted a call on other states to follow Malawi's example.
The announcement comes in the wake of a normalisation of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, following a US-mediated 'Abraham Accord' signed at the White House in September. In late October, US President Donald Trump announced that Tel Aviv and Sudan had agreed to normalise ties as part of a broader plan pursued by the Trump administration to build alliances in the region.
2/2— גבי אשכנזי - Gabi Ashkenazi (@Gabi_Ashkenazi) November 3, 2020
This further strengthens the relations between Israel and Malawi and I call on other countries to follow Malawi and move their embassies to Jerusalem.
Earlier, the Dominican Republic and Honduras expressed desire to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem, and prior to that, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Serbia would become the first European country to open an embassy in Jerusalem, as soon as July 2021.
Following the UAE and Bahrain, Sudan becomes the fifth Arab state to recognise Israel, after Egypt and Jordan did so in 1979 and 1994, respectively.
The trend in relocating embassies was begun by US President Donald Trump in December 2017, when the White House announced that it would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and subsequently move its diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv to a city declared holy for three religions. The decision has been condemned by Palestinian authorities and several other states, including Turkey.