JNS.org – 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.
David Roet, the former deputy permanent representative to the United Nations led the delegation to the Muslim-majority country in Southeast Asia, following diplomatic pressure at the United Nations.
Israel’s delegation to the UN and the Israeli embassy in Kenya (where UN Habitat is headquartered) pressured Malaysia to accept the Israeli delegation. Malaysia was forced to accept the delegation as all UN member nations were permitted to attend.
Roet indicated that Malaysia would not be establishing diplomatic ties with Israel anytime soon, though he met with senior Malaysian officials. Roet reportedly told the officials that Israel is open to relations and does not view Malaysia as an enemy. Israel and Malaysia currently maintain limited trade relations, primarily through the company Intel, which operates facilities in both countries.
On Twitter, Roet wrote, “I have great hopes for good relations between our two countries in the future.”
Malaysia prevented a pair of Israeli windsurfers from competing in the Youth Sailing World Championships in 2015.
The other participants in the Israeli delegation were former minister Ophir Pines-Paz, director of the Institute for Local Government at Tel Aviv University, and Eran Razin, director of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Urban and Regional Studies.
The next UN Habitat conference will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2020.
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