Colombia’s Recognition of Palestine Irreversible: Duque  

 

President Ivan Duque said his predecessor’s decision to recognize Palestine’s statehood is protected by the constitution and cannot be changed.

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’ve 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.

“That decision is irreversible, first of all, because the president of the republic is the person designated by the constitution to manage foreign relations,” Duque said, 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 state head, just one day before his departure from office. Malki also attended Duque’s inauguration last month in 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.

“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,” Israeli embassy in Bogota said in a statement after Santos’ made the decision public.

However, Duque said he has “always believed” a separation of the Palestinian state the “ideal solution for the Middle East” and encouraged the nations of the world to follow suit.

“What we, the international community, should not do is be part of the problem, instead, we must be part of the solution. The solution is to form lasting peace, stability, and that the two-state solution will move forward,” he said

Reacting to upholding Santo’s decision, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it was surprised by the decision. “We are surprised by the report in the media and are waiting for explanations from the new administration which is checking into the subject,” the ministry said.

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