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Bolivia will re-establish diplomatic ties with Israel after a decade-long dispute

Karen Longaric, the interim foreign minister of Bolivia, 27 November 2019 [Twitter]
Karen Longaric, the interim foreign minister of Bolivia, 27 November 2019 [Twitter]

Bolivia will renew diplomatic ties with Israel, Karen Longaric, the interim foreign minister of the country’s transitional government, announced yesterday.

Speaking to international media, Longaric, who took office on 14 November following the departure of former Bolivian President Evo Morales, said: “We are going to restore relations with Israel.”

In January 2009 Morales broke diplomatic ties with Israel, making it the first country to do so, in response to the destructive Israeli war on Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, known as “Operation Cast Lead”, in which hundreds of Palestinians were killed.

He also said he would ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring genocide charges against top Israeli officials, as well as cancelling a 30-year-old accord under which Israelis could visit Bolivia without a visa.

In 2010, Morales formally recognised Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within the 1967 borders.

As one of Israel’s fiercest critics during the war on Gaza in 2014, Morales declared Israel a “terrorist state”.

Israel is a ‘Terrorist State’: Seven times Bolivia and Morales took a stance for Palestine

Following a disputed national election, Morales has sought asylum in Mexico.

Without giving a date for the establishment or any other details, Longaric said diplomatic ties will resume “out of respect for the sovereignty of the state, cordiality and that relations could lead to positive aspects for both sides and contribute to Bolivian tourism.”

In a statement issued yesterday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed the measure, Haaretz reported.

He said his ministry had “actively worked for a long period of time to promote the renewal of the relationship also with the help of the Brazilian president and minister of foreign affairs”.

“The departure of President Morales, who was hostile to Israel, and his replacement by a government friendly to Israel, allows the fruition of the process,” he added.

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