Israeli diplomats make first appearance in Malaysia for UN conference

Israel has sent a team of diplomats to Kuala Lumpur for the first time, the Times of Israel has reported.

According to the report, the diplomats are in Malaysia to attend the World Urban Forum, a UN-Habitat conference held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from Feb 7 to 13.

Malaysia, which is a Muslim-majority nation, has for a long time barred Israeli nationals from entering the country.

In 2016, Israeli sailors were denied visas to enter Malaysia for the Youth World Championship competition.

In its Feb 12 report, the Times of Israel said that the senior-level Israeli delegation’s visit was confirmed by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

The delegation was led by Mr David Roet, Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UN.

The delegates were said to have been allowed into the country as Malaysia was compelled to grant visas to all delegations under the event organiser’s terms and conditions, the news website said, citing a Hadashot report.

Mr Roet is believed to have met Malaysian officials during his visit despite the two countries having no official ties.

In a tweet, Mr Roet described his visit as a “unique experience”, adding that he had “great hopes for good relations between our two countries in the future”.

In other tweets, he made observations about Malaysian culture, including taxi drivers’ use of the Waze app, as well as “many similarities between Israelis and Malaysians”.

Both societies, he said, are “multifaceted” and made up of “people from different backgrounds working together for a better future”.