Colombia’s president orders opening of embassy in Palestine News
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Colombia’s president orders opening of embassy in Palestine

Colombian President Gustavo Petro ordered on Wednesday the opening of an embassy in Palestine, as confirmed by Colombia’s Foreign Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo.

Murillo affirmed during an interview President Petro’s plans to install an embassy in Ramallah. This would mean another step towards recognizing Palestine as an independent State. Colombia has participated actively in seeking the resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict that started on October 7. Colombia had commented on the existence of a genocide against the Palestinians and supported the judicial action initiated by South Africa in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). These actions demonstrate a firm stance of the Colombian government in favor of the statehood of Palestine and the resolution of the ongoing conflict. As Murillo affirms in the same interview, the “starting point” for the solution to this war is the recognition of Palestine as a State, encouraging other countries to initiate this action.

International law recognizes Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention for proposing the relevant criteria for statehood. This article dictates the capacity to enter into relations with other States. Creating an embassy in Palestine would entail broadened diplomatic ties between Palestine and the State of Colombia, resulting in the applicability of this criterion. Despite this, the requirements stipulated in the Montevideo Convention are only the baseline for the recognition of a State.

Colombia decided to install an embassy in the context of various developments favoring the statehood of Palestine. On May 11, the UN General Assembly positively advocated for Palestine’s acceptance as a member of the UN, with 143 countries in favor. Additionally, Spain, Ireland, and Norway will recognize Palestine as a state on May 28. Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed these decisions, mentioning, “the intention of several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state is a reward for terrorism.”

The situation in Gaza is still under development. Despite this, Petro asserts that Palestinian statehood is an essential step towards ensuring the international rights of this territory. On May 24, the ICJ is expected to give its order on the provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the South Africa vs. Israel case.

Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously identified Benjamin Netanyahu as the President of Israel. Netanyahu is the country’s Prime Minister while Isaac Herzog is its President.