KUALA LUMPUR: The UN’s World Food Program said two Malaysian employees were permitted to leave North Korea Thursday, as Kuala Lumpur negotiates for nine more citizens trapped by a diplomatic row over the murder of Kim Jong-Nam.
North Korean barred Malaysians from leaving prompting a tit-for-tat response from Kuala Lumpur as diplomatic tensions soared over the investigation into Kim’s murder at Malaysia’s main airport last month.
“The staff members are international civil servants and not representatives of their national government,” the UN agency said in a statement.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said Kuala Lumpur would negotiate to ensure that the remaining nine nationals—three embassy staff and six family members—who he said were safe but trapped in Pyongyang, would be allowed to leave.
“The government will do everything possible to ensure that our citizens continue to be safe and will be able to return to Malaysia,” he said in a statement.
But Malaysia will not allow North Koreans to leave the country and “will not relent from our firm approach,” Najib added.
The government has urged all mosques to hold special prayer sessions from Friday “until this political turmoil is over.”