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Colombia suspends coal exports to Israel due to Gaza genocide

June 10, 2024 at 12:00 pm

Colombian President, Gustavo Petro, speaks as United Nations Security Council visits Bogota, Colombia on February 8, 2024. [Juancho Torres – Anadolu Agency]

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, announced that he will suspend the export of coal to Israel on his account on X on Saturday. The Petro government said the move comes in response to Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip, which “represent a transgression of an imperative norm of international law which in turn, is part of the Colombian constitutional block.””We are going to suspend coal exports to Israel until the genocide stops,” was the brief message that the president spread on the social media network along with the link of the decree from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism which highlights that between January and August 2023 Colombia exported to Israel $350 million of coal to the occupation state.The decree, which will come into effect within five days of the announcement, details that exports of coal will be suspended until the orders of provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are implemented. Last month the ICJ called on Israel not to carry out a military operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

“The decree will be valid until the orders of provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice in the Process of the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip are fully complied by Israel,” the decree warns.The escalation of military actions, Israel’s systematic failure to comply with the provisional measures issued by the ICJ and “the worsening humanitarian situation constitute a risk for international peace and security and, consequently, is an issue that affects national security”, Colombia explains.

According to figures from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), Colombia is one of the primary suppliers of coal to Israel. In 2023, Colombia exported $447 million of coal to Israel. In the period between January and April 2024, coal exports from Colombia to Israel amounted to $88 million, which represented a drop of 57 per cent compared to 2023.

Congressman Alirio Uribe backed the president’s position, saying it is consistent with President Petro’s objective of defending peace according to the international laws and United Nations principles. “We as a government member, we absolutely support the position of the national government,” he saidThe Colombian Mining Association (ACM) expressed its concern about the suspension of coal exports as Israel is an important trading partner. “This decision would not comply with international commitments by Colombia that should be respected and puts at risk the confidence of markets and foreign investment,” the Colombian Mining Association (ACM) said in a statement.

Israel is a key destination for Colombian coal and shipments there generate about $165 million a year in taxes, royalties and other contributions, according to Reuters.

On 3 June, Colombia’s president received the Great Necklace of the State of Palestine from Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas for his support for the Palestinian people. Upon receiving it he said it “is perhaps the most valuable because of what it undoubtedly means in the history of the world, the history of resistance and in the history of humanity.”

He added that Colombia “cannot turn our backs” to what is happening to the Palestinian people. “There is no ethical or moral reason that prevents us from raising our voices when we can.”

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