Colombia recognizes Palestinian state, then abruptly vows to review the move amid Israeli outrage
Russia Today: After it emerged that the former president Juan Manuel Santos recognized Palestine as an independent state just before leaving office, Colombia’s new government has pledged to “cautiously” review the decision and its implications.
Palestine was described as a “free, independent and sovereign state” in Santos’ August 3 letter to the Palestinian representative in Colombia, which was only made public on Wednesday. “Just as the Palestinian people have a right to constitute an independent state, Israel has a right to live in peace alongside its neighbors,” it added.
The Palestinian representative welcomed the announcement, expressing hope it will “contribute significantly to generating the necessary conditions in the search for peace in the Middle East.” Palestine is currently recognized as a sovereign state by the UN, the International Criminal Court and at least 137 countries. Israel, however, immediately slammed the last move by the outgoing Colombian administration, urging the new government to reverse the decision, which, according to Israeli embassy in Bogota, “contravenes the close relations, extensive cooperation in vital areas and interests of both countries.”
Apparently facing some pressure, the new Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said in a statement later on Wednesday that, 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.”
Colombia’s new president, Ivan Duque, took office on Tuesday in an inauguration ceremony attended by visiting US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. Colombia was one of the few states that abstained from voting on a US General Assembly resolution that urged the US to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.