Jan 19, 2019, 5:11 PM
News Code: 83176502
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Malaysia says it stands firm to ban Israeli athletes

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 19, IRNA- Malaysia says it will stand firm on its decision not to allow any Israeli sportspersons to take part in any sport event in Malaysia.

Malaysian Foreign Minsiter, Saifuddin bin Abdullah, says his country will not issue visas for any Isaraeli athlete that wants to take part in sport events that are or will be held in the South East Asian country.

'The Malaysian government is firm in its decision no to host in the future any sport event in which Israeli atheltes would particiapate,' bin Abdullah told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Swimmers from about 70 countries are to compete in the Wold Paralympic swimming championship that is to be held in Kuching, the provincial capital of Sarawak later in July. The competition, that will run up to the fourth August, is an important milestone towards next year’s Tokyo Paralympics.

The minister stressed Kualu Lumpur firmly holds to its decision that is 'based on its strong support for the Palestinian cause.'

Ealier Malaysian Primer Minister, Mahatir bin Mohammad, had said he will not back down from his position although the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which is organising the competition, could cancel the event and hold it somewhere else. 'Malaysia isn't ok with Israelis entering the country and if they want to strip us of the right to host the event, they can go ahead and do it,' warned Mohammad.

Kuala Lumpur's move has drawn harsh reaction from Israel that denoucned the ban on its athletes as Mahatir bin Mohammad's 'shameful' anti-Semitic decision.

The Israeli Forieng Ministry says it has called on the IPC to change the competition's venue or persuade the Malaysian government to backtrack from its position.

The Malaysian foreign minister said for more than half a century, Israel has continued to disregard the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, while committing inhumane policies and practices that are in clear violation of international laws.

'Israel has no right to talk about moral values when they themselves are the exact opposite,' Saifuddin said in a statement on Friday.

However, the Palestinians have welcomed Malaysia's move. The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) has thanked the South Asian prime minister's firm rejection to normalise ties with Israel.

'This step shows Malaysia's real and historical position to support the Palestinian people that are exposed to all kinds of cruel actions by the Zionist regime,' said Hamas Prime Minister Ismael Haniya in a statement.
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