By Alexander Cornwell
ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Fiji could delay opening its embassy in Israel, the Pacific Island nation’s deputy prime minister said on Wednesday, amid fears the war between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas could destabilise the region.
The conflict, which erupted on Oct. 7 after Hamas fighters stormed into Israel, has inflamed tensions across the Middle East. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned on Oct. 17 of further action by Tehran’s allies against Israel if it did not cease its retaliatory attacks on Gaza.
“Until things stabilise, we probably won’t be … having an embassy there soon,” Manoa Seru Kamikamica told Reuters in Abu Dhabi, where he was attending a United Nations investment conference.
“There is certainly a commitment by the government of Fiji,” he said, “but now we will have to just monitor and evaluate.”
Kamikamica, who also serves as trade minister, said Fiji had yet to decide where it would locate its embassy “because of the sensitivities” and that it was considering both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Fiji had committed to opening an embassy in Israel next year and initially said it would be in Jerusalem. If opened, it would be one of a few nations alongside the U.S. with an embassy in Jerusalem.
Most countries only officially recognise Israel’s sovereignty over part of Jerusalem and maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be their capital.
The minister said the cabinet would likely make a decision on the location within the next six to twelve months.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Alex Richardson and Sharon Singleton)