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Colombia's Petro orders the opening of embassy in Palestinian territory

May 23, 2024 at 9:40 am

Colombian president Gustavo Petro on May 1, 2024, in Bogota, Colombia [Sebastian Barros/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images]

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has ordered the opening of an embassy in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, Foreign Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo told journalists today according to Reuters.

“President Petro has given the order that we open the Colombian embassy in Ramallah, the representation of Colombia in Ramallah, that is the next step we are going to take,” Murillo said.

Murillo added he believes more countries will soon begin backing the recognition of a Palestinian state before the United Nations, efforts Colombia has already supported.

At the beginning of this month, Petro, who had already recalled the Colombian ambassador from Tel Aviv citing Israel’s “massacre” of Palestinians, said he would break diplomatic relations with Israel over its actions in Gaza. The embassy was closed on 3 May.

Petro has heavily criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has requested to join South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

READ: Colombia president to host concert in support of Palestine

Ramallah, in the West Bank, serves as the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority.

On 10 May, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member by recognising it as qualified to join and recommended the UN Security Council “reconsider the matter favourably.”

Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip since October 2023 and the ICJ is looking into claims it is committing genocide in the enclave.

Colombia was not the first Latin American country to cut ties with Israel.

Bolivia broke with relations with Israel at the end of October last year while several other countries in Latin America, including Chile and Honduras, have recalled their ambassadors.