Thursday, October 01, 2020

Colombian president recognizes Palestine as sovereign state

By Maria Correia - August 13, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Statehood ]

Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s now former President, recognized Palestine as a sovereign state last week. Santos’ decision came merely days before he left office.

letter from the foreign ministry that was made public stated: “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.”
The letter continued; “Just as the Palestinian people have a right to constitute an independent state, Israel has a right to live in peace alongside its neighbors.”
The Israeli embassy in Colombia showed discontent with the decision. In a tweet, the embassy urged the government to reverse the decision as it “contravenes the close relations, extensive cooperation in vital areas and interests of both countries.”
A Palestinian representative issued a statement thanking the Colombian government, and stating certainty that it would “contribute significantly to generating the necessary conditions in the search for peace in the Middle East.”
The Palestinian Authority stated last week that Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister, had received the official letter from Santos about the decision.
In a statement, Malki said that “this decision comes after an intensive effort made by the foreign minister of the State of Palestine over a period of several years.”
He added that the decision “also came as a result of efforts made by the Palestinian diplomatic mission to Colombia” and that it was “a special diplomatic achievement” added to “several diplomatic achievements made by the Foreign Ministry of the State of Palestine.”
The United States is yet to issue a statement on the decision.
The new Colombian President, Ivan Duque, was informed of the decision after stepping into office. His current Colombian government is currently reviewing Santos’ decision.
Prior to stepping into office, Duque had spoken of potentially following the United States lead and moving the Colombian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Paraguay and Guatemala have already done so.
Carlos Holmes, Colombia’s foreign minister, issued a statement saying that “the government will cautiously examine its implications and will act according to international law,” given the potential oversights that could come up in relation to the way in which Santos made this decision.
Before the decision taken by Santos, Colombia was the sole state in Latin America that did not recognize Palestine.
In 2012, Colombia abstained from voting on the Palestinian status within the United Nations to a non-member state.
Additionally in December 2017, Colombia abstained from the United Nations vote calling for the Trump administration drop to its decision to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Due to her close ties to Washington, Colombia has in the past abstained from recognizing a Palestinian state, along with American status quo.
However, recently Colombia has slowly moved towards more independent foreign policy. The biggest example of which was Colombia’s call to change anti-narcotics policies that were backed by the United States.
Palestine is recognized as a sovereign state by 136 countries, the United Nations General Assembly, and the International Criminal Court.

The decision made by Santos is coming at a time when the Palestinian Authority is pushing for United Nations recognition of Palestine as a member state, which requires United Nations Security Council approval.


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