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US questions Malaysia for not acting as mediator in Israel-Hamas war
Published on: Friday, May 31, 2024
By: FMT, Gareth Corsi
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US questions Malaysia for not acting as mediator in Israel-Hamas war
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim met Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 14 during his official visit to Qatar . (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: The US has “strong concerns” that Malaysia has not come forward and presented itself as a mediator in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, says Edgard D Kagan, the US ambassador to Malaysia.

“I have not heard Malaysia present itself as a mediator and we have strong concerns,” he said during an interview on the BFM ‘Breakfast Grille’ show this morning, when asked about Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s relationship with Hamas.

On May 23, Anwar defended his continued engagement with Hamas. He said his decades-long ties with the Palestinian group gave him an edge in attempts to broker peace in the Middle East, Bloomberg reported.

Anwar said he was appealing to Hamas leaders to accept conditions made by neighbouring countries to secure peace, such as returning their hostages in exchange for the prisoners in Israel, and accepting a two-state solution.

Meanwhile, Kagan said the US knows other governments have strong views about Hamas’s legitimacy, which is also of concern to Washington.

“The important thing is: what are we doing to bring tangible results? While Malaysians may be looking to the US to bring those results, it’s also important to look at what Malaysia can contribute to benefit the region and the Palestinian people.

“We’re deeply concerned (about Gaza) and have called on all sides to take appropriate steps to reach a ceasefire. We hope Hamas will take steps that will allow this, it is obviously in their hands.”

Kagan made it clear that while the US holds Hamas responsible for the Oct 7 incident, Washington is reaching a “red line” over Israel’s continued aggression, particularly when it comes to civilian deaths.

“Hamas is holding hostages, including Americans, and Americans were killed in the attacks. Hamas has long targeted Americans, so we have very strong feelings about this,” he said, adding that secretary of state Antony Blinken had condemned the latest Israeli attack and was pressuring Israel to come to the bargaining table.

“The most important thing is that the Israeli government takes appropriate steps to protect civilians,” he said, adding that a major offensive into Rafah will have serious consequences for the US-Israel relationship.

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