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Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (front row, fourth right) during a photo session with leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) before the opening ceremony of the 18th NAM Summit at the Baku Congress Centre. - Bernama

BAKU, Azerbaijan: As a counter to Israel's claim of Jerusalem as its capital and western countries support of it, Malaysia will open an embassy accredited to Palestine.

The embassy, to be located in Jordan will enable Malaysia to provide the much needed support and assistance to embattled Palestine.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced this today when addressing delegates at the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement currently being held at the Baku Congress Centre.

He said the brutal Israeli regime was expanding illegal settlements on land rightfully belonging to the Palestinians.

"Worst still, Israel has announced that it intends to annex part of the West Bank — a move that clearly violates international law.

"On our part, Malaysia will open an embassy accredited to Palestine. We know that Israel will not allow Malaysia to open an embassy in the Occupied Territory. As such it will be located in Jordan.

"The embassy will allow us to extend aid to the Palestinians more easily, although Israel will find a way to ensure no aid reaches Palestine," he said.

The prime minister also said Israel was continuing to "choke the life out of Palestine and the Palestinians" by confiscating more and more Palestinian land until there was none left.

Dr Mahathir, alluding to the United Nations, said the international community was not doing much to address this humanitarian issue.

"It is unfortunate that a world organisation set up by powerful nations now see those very people ignoring the resolutions of that world body. Now we see others doing the same."

Dr Mahathir urged NAM member countries that had relocated their embassies to Jerusalem or are planning to do so to reconsider their decision.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir spoke on the impact of trade wars, which he said had caused havoc on our economies.

Members of the media listening toPrime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's speech at the 18th Summit of the State and Government of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit. - Bernama

He said the uncertainties caused had led nations becoming unable to plan and develop their countries.

"A trade war between the world's largest economies is bound to fracture the world trading system.

Tariffs, counter tariffs and other impediments to free trade may now become the new normal.

"The US-China mega trade war may be a symptom of something far worse — growing rivalry between the world's two biggest powers, lasting indefinitely."

Unfortunately, he said Malaysia was caught in the middle by being economically linked to both markets and due to its geographical location.

Dr Mahathir also reiterated that war was not a solution to settling disputes, stressing on what he had already said at the United Nations general assembly in New York recently.

He highlighted on other ways to settling disputes, either by negotiating or submitting to arbitration by third parties.

"Or, resort to the courts of law — the International Court of Justice, for example.

"We say this because Malaysia does not just talk, We do. We settle disputes with our neighbours through negotiation and through the world court. We won some and we lost some. But no one has been killed," he said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev at the Baku Congress Centre, Baku to attend the opening ceremony of the 18th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, Friday.-Bernama

Concluding his address, Dr Mahathir called on NAM members to stand united against the powerful countries and not give them the satisfaction of seeing NAM divided.

"We are divided not because we do not believe in our shared values or principles, but because we have been tempted by the promise of economic benefits or favourable trade conditions.

“We have been enticed by some of the powerful countries. Either that, or we have been frightened to the extent of bending to the will of the powerful. They have threatened us with punitive measures such as embargoes or sanctions, or even worse.

"The theme of this year’s Summit, 'Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of the contemporary world' is fitting indeed.

He called on the importance to defend and champion the 10 principles of the 1955 Bandung Conference in light of the “dangerous world we currently live in”.

He said: “But, we must do this together. Only then can we continue to revive NAM towards meeting its objectives. Only then can we put a stop to the injustices we see today. Only then can we see a stable, peaceful and harmonious world."

The two-day NAM Summit was earlier opened by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijan assumed the chairmanship of NAM from Venenzuela for the period 2019-2022.

Some 20 heads of state and governments are participating in the 18th forum which will see leaders discussing responses to contemporary world challenges at a time when the relevance of NAM in a post-Cold War era is under question.

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