Colombian President: 'Palestine' recognition is irreversible

Colombia’s new President says decision by his predecessor to recognize “Palestine” days before he left office cannot be changed.

Elad Benari ,

Ivan Duque
Ivan Duque

Colombia’s new President Ivan Duque said on Monday that the decision by his predecessor to recognize “Palestine” days before he left office is “irreversible.”

Outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos announced on August 3 that he had decided to “recognize Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state.”

Colombia’s new government later said it would review the decision.

Israel's foreign ministry said it was "surprised" by the reports and added it would seek an explanation from the new Colombian government, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet welcomed the decision and said it proves Colombia’s “keenness to support the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights to self-determination and independence in accordance with the principles of the international law and many other relevant international resolutions.”

Speaking to a local radio station on Monday and quoted by JTA, Duque commented on Santos’ decision and said, “Damage was done by the fact that there was not more institutional discussion. [Former] president [Juan Manuel] Santos told me that he had made that decision, but it is irreversible.”

“We would have benefited from more analyses [about recognizing Palestine],” Duque continued.

“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 added.

Duque also told the radio station he believes a “two-state solution” to the Israel-PA conflict is the best one.

Several countries around the world have recognized “Palestine” as a state in recent years, though these moves have been mostly symbolic and have little, if any, diplomatic effect.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas met EU foreign ministers in Brussels earlier this year and asked them to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 territories with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

PA cabinet chief Rami Hamdallah asked Norway in January to recognize Palestine, part of the PA’s efforts to bypass peace talks with Israel.