Colombia Recognizes Palestine as Sovereign State, New Government to Review Decision

Colombia Recognizes Palestine as Sovereign State, New Government to Review Decision

Thursday, 9 August, 2018 - 07:45
Colombia's new President Ivan Duque addresses the audience in Bogota, Colombia August 7, 2018. Fabian Ortiz/Courtesy of Colombian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
Colombia recognized Palestine as a sovereign state in the last days of former President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration, according to a letter from the foreign ministry made public on Wednesday.

"I would like to inform you that in the name of the government of Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos has decided to recognize Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state," said the letter dated August 3.

However, Colombia’s new government said it would review the decision in accordance with international law and good diplomatic practice.

“Given possible omissions that could come to light about the way in which this decision was taken by the outgoing president, the government will cautiously examine its implications and will act according to international law,” new Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said in a statement.

"It is a priority for this government to maintain cooperative relations with its allies and friends, and to contribute to international peace and security," Holmes added in another statement.

Before the announcement, Colombia had been one of only two countries in the region, along with Panama, not to recognize Palestinian statehood, AFP reported.

The Palestinian mission in Bogota told AFP that they were told of the decision last Friday. It welcomed the move by Bogota as evidence of "profound efforts to reach a rapprochement."

“We thank the Colombian government for this decision and we are sure that it will contribute significantly to generating the necessary conditions in the search for peace in the Middle East,” the Palestine representative said in a statement on Wednesday.

For its part, the Israeli embassy in Bogota said it was surprised and disappointed, according to Reuters.

“We ask the Colombian government to reverse the decision made by the previous administration in its last days, which contravenes the close relations, extensive cooperation in vital areas and interests of both countries,” it said in a statement posted to its Twitter account.

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