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Muslim Malaysia rejects criticism over Israeli visit


today defended the decision to allow a high-level Israeli delegation to attend a UN conference in after the move sparked widespread anger in the Muslim-majority country.

said Malaysia, as host of last weeks international forum on urban development, had no choice but to allow all UN member states to take part.

has no formal diplomatic ties with and many in the country support the Palestinian cause, with thousands taking to the streets in December to protest when US recognised as the Jewish states capital.

The Israeli delegation at the conference was led by David Roet, who used to be Israels to the UN, and included other senior foreign ministry officials and a former minister, of reported.

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

"I have great hopes for good relations between our two countries in the future," he said in a tweet.

Opposition groups and Islamic NGOs attacked the government for allowing him to take part in the event, with from political party labelling it a "great disservice to the Palestinian cause".

"will be very happy that this has happened," he told AFP.

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

"The issue of Malaysia tacitly establishing links with Israel through the hosting of this forum does not arise," he said in a statement.

"Our position on Israel remains unchanged. To imply otherwise is an indication of malicious and malignant intent."

Malaysia has previously stopped Israelis from entering the country for international events.

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 16:05 IST