Duque: Colombia’s Recognition of Palestine Irreversible

The flag of Palestine. (Photo: ActiveStills.org)

Colombia’s stance on Palestine is “irreversible,” newly elected President Ivan Duque said, reaffirming his support for the state during an interview with Caracol Radio Monday.

Duque said that though Colombia would have benefited from an institutional discussion with the Foreign Affairs Advisory Committee, he plans to stand by the decision made by his predecessor and outgoing president, Juan Manuel Santos.

Duque said:

“That decision is irreversible, first of all, because the president of the republic is the person designated by the constitution to manage foreign relations, and can not be altered after the fact.”

Last week, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki confirmed he received an official letter of recognition from the former head of state just one day before his departure from office. Malki also attended Duque’s inauguration last month at which he met with officials from the new government and pushed for maintaining positive relations between Colombia and Palestine.

Though Santos’s position triggered criticism from Israel, who in a statement said it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision which they called “damaging” to the long friendship shared between the two nations.

After Santos made the decision public, the Israeli embassy in Bogota said in a statement:

“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.”

Reacting to upholding Santo’s decision, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it was surprised by the decision.

He said:

“We are surprised by the report in the media and are waiting for explanations from the new administration which is checking into the subject.”

During a 2012 U.N. General Assembly to decide “observer status” in regards to Palestine, 138 countries vote in favor, while Colombia abstained. When the question was brought to a vote again last year following the United State’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the South American nation was among the 128 countries to condemn the move.

With the Duque’s recent comments, Colombia becomes the 137th country to recognize Palestine’s statehood.

(TeleSur, PC, Social Media)

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