New Colombian president: No change on ‘Palestine’

Duque, in a radio interview, said he would have liked to have had more debate on the issue, but that he is respectful of decisions made by leaders before their terms expire.

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September 4, 2018 03:38
1 minute read.
President Ivan Duque and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez celebrate after they win the presidentia

President Ivan Duque and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez celebrate after they win the presidential election in Bogota on Sunday. (photo credit: ANDRES STAPFF/REUTERS)

 
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Colombia’s decision to recognize the “State of Palestine” made by Juan Manuel Santos in the last few days of his term in August is “irreversible,” Colombia’s new president, Ivan Duque, said on Monday.

Duque, in a radio interview, said he would have liked to have had more debate on the issue, but that he is respectful of decisions made by leaders before their terms expire.

Duque said soon after being sworn in as president in early August that he would review the surprising decision made by Santos, who was considered a strong ally of Israel. Colombia has long been one of Israel’s strongest allies in South America.

While the Foreign Ministry did not immediately put out a response to Duque’s decision, Deputy Minister Michael Oren (Kulanu) issued a statement saying that the decision not to annul Santos’s move “is a damaging step to our long-standing friendship.”


Even worse, Oren said, “The decision directly harms the peace process by giving the Palestinians free of charge what they could have received in exchange for concessions in future negotiations. So now, why should the Palestinians want to negotiate at all?”

Oren said that this move goes against the approach of US President Donald Trump which holds that “anyone sitting around the negotiation table should come prepared for concessions, and anyone who leaves will pay a price.”

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