Malawi is one of few African countries to have maintained continuous diplomatic ties with Israel since the central African country’s independence in 1964, according to The Jerusalem Post. It reports that 16 countries – including Ivory Coast, Kenya and what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo – closed embassies in Jerusalem following the 1973 Middle East War. Those that later reopened embassies did so in the commercial hub of Tel Aviv. African Union chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat at the time had denounced the U.S. Embassy move, saying it would “only increase tensions in the region” and further complicate resolving the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said the African Union shared the Palestinian people’s desire for an independent state, with east Jerusalem as its capital. Malawi’s embassy is expected to open sometime in 2021.