Malaysia issues statement on Israel delegation visit

Israeli Delegation Visits Malaysia for UN Habitat Conference, Following Diplomatic Pressure

Malaysia FM denies ties with Israel after country allowed Israeli delegation in

A three-man delegation representing Israel at the UN Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat) conference in Kuala Lumpur, marks the first visit of an Israeli diplomat to Malaysia in 53 years.

"Unlike the other letters of invitation, the invitation to Israel was not signed by any Malaysian official, so the issue of Malaysia tacitly establishing links with Israel through this forum does not arise".

But Foreign Minister Anifah insisted Malaysia had been compelled to allow Israel to participate, noting the letter of invitation to the Jewish state was not signed by any Malaysian official.

"Our position on Israel remains unchanged". Article 3 of the agreement states that the forum is open to all United Nations member states and any of its specialised agencies.

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Meanwhile, UN-Habitat, in a statement, said the WUF is a non-legislative technical forum convened by UN-Habitat in which experts can exchange views.

The minister also noted that WUF9 was widely acknowledged to have been a success, having raised Malaysia's profile and showcased Malaysia's achievements in the promotion, articulation and implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

In a statement, Roet revealed that the two parties had met, and whilst they did not deal directly with Israel-Malaysia relations, Roet reportedly argued in the meeting that Malaysia's boycott of Israel did not benefit the Palestinian cause.

The Israeli delegation at the conference was led by David Roet, who used to be Israel's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, and included other senior foreign ministry officials and a former minister, the Times of Israel reported.

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Roet posted pictures of himself on Twitter at various locations around Kuala Lumpur and next to a Malaysian flag.

Opposition groups and Islamic NGOs attacked the government for allowing him to take part in the event, with Rais Hussin from political party Bersatu labeling it a "great disservice to the Palestinian cause". Roet praised the move in a series of tweets, stating that he had found "many similarities" between Israelis and Malaysians and expressing hope that relations between the countries improve in the future.

In 2015 two Israeli windsurfers were denied visas for a competition on the holiday island of Langkawi, forcing them to withdraw from the event.

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