Colombia recognised Palestine as a sovereign state in the days before new President Ivan Duque took office, according to a letter from the foreign ministry made public on Wednesday.
The recognition came days before the end of President Santos' term in office, and before the newly-elected president, Ivan Duque, assumes office.
Apparently facing some pressure, the new Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said in a statement later on Wednesday that, given "possible omissions that could come to light about the way in which this decision was taken by the outgoing president, the government will cautiously examine its implications and will act according to global law".
Colombia was the only South American country that did not yet recognize the State of Palestine.
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"It is a priority for this government to maintain cooperative relations with its allies and friends, and to contribute to worldwide peace and security", Holmes said.
More than 70 percent of the world's United Nations member states have recognised Palestine as an independent state.
"This decision is deeply appreciated by the Palestinian people and their government, who have always seen Colombia and its people as indefatigable brothers in the search for peace", the Palestinian mission in Bogota said in its statement to EFE. It welcomed the move by Bogota as evidence of "profound efforts to reach a rapprochement".
At least 158 Palestinians have died and thousands injured since Gazans launched weekly protests along the separation fence on 30 March demanding for the right of return for refugees.