The United Nations invited Israel for the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur as it is a global event, not Malaysia, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said today.

Anifah said the UN through its agency UN-Habitat, which organised the forum from February 7 until yesterday, had issued the invitation to Israel.

“It needs to be emphasised that unlike the other letters of invitation, the letter of invitation to Israel was not signed by any Malaysian official.

“Therefore, the issue of Malaysia tacitly establishing links with Israel through the hosting of this forum does not arise. Our position on Israel remains unchanged. To imply otherwise is an indication of malicious and malignant intent,” he said in a statement today.  

Anifah said this in response to civil groups who questioned Putrajaya’s decision to allow diplomats from Israel to enter the country and attend the forum.

Aman Palestine chief executive officer Awang Suffian Awang Piut said Putrajaya should not have allowed the Israelis in as it does not have diplomatic relationship with the Jewish state.

“How could the government allow them into the country when Malaysians are sensitive about what Israel had done to Palestinians?

The Times of Israel had reported that the Jewish state’s Foreign Ministry had confirmed its diplomats were allowed into Kuala Lumpur to attend the conference.

According to the report, the country’s delegation was led by Israel’s deputy diplomat to the United Nations David Roet.

Malaysia does not acknowledge Israel as a country since its formation in 1948 and had always supported the Palestinian’s fight for an independent state. – MI

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