Colombia Freezes Coal Exports to Israel Over Gaza Conflict, Announces Petro

By Madz Dizon

Jun 09, 2024 04:15 AM EDT

Colombia Freezes Coal Exports to Israel Over Gaza Conflict, Announces Petro
Colombian President Gustavo Petro speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House April 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo : Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Saturday (June 8), Colombian President Gustavo Petro made the decision to suspend coal exports to Israel due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza. 

Colombia Halts Coal Exports to Israel

This move reflects the deteriorating relationship between the two countries, which were previously strong military and commercial partners.

In addition, it was mentioned that Bogota will no longer be acquiring weapons from Israel, a major supplier for the security forces of the South American country.

The Colombian government has announced that the coal export ban will come into effect five days after the decree is published in the official gazette, Barrons reported. It is important to note that this ban will not impact goods that have already been authorized for shipment.

Petro also shared a draft decree, emphasizing that coal exports will only resume if Israel complies with the latest ruling from the International Court of Justice, which demands the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza strip.

Colombia's National Statistics Department reported that coal exports to Israel reached a value of over $320 million in the first eight months of last year. 

That represents only a small portion of the country's total coal exports, which had a value exceeding $9 billion in 2023.

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Colombia's Reliance on Israel on Military Equipment

According to AP, Colombia has relied on Israel for a range of military equipment, including assault rifles as well as intelligence technology. 

The South American nation has also acquired over 30 fighter jets from Israel in the last 30 years, relying on Israeli companies for their maintenance.

Amidst worsening relations, military procurement has come to a halt. Some individuals have raised concerns about the potential impact of the president's decision to sever connections with Israel on Colombia's security capabilities. 

They argue that this move could potentially put the country's military efforts against drug cartels and rebel groups in rural areas at risk.

In contrast to previous Colombian presidents, Petro has expressed strong criticism towards Israel and initially hesitated to condemn the Hamas attack that occurred before Israel's invasion of Gaza.

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