Colombia announces suspension of coal exports to Israel

Last Updated on June 9, 2024 2:33 pm

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has announced a freeze on coal exports to Israel as a rebuke to the deadly war against Hamas in Gaza.

In an announcement made on the social platform X on Saturday, he said, Colombia made this decision in the continuation of the recent deterioration of relations with Israel, a once close military and commercial ally. The media reported this information in a report of AP.

Coal exports continued even after Petro’s government severed diplomatic ties with Israel in May, the Israeli embassy in Bogota said. Colombia is Israel’s main coal supplier. Colombia exports $450 million worth of coal to Israel in 2023.

A staunch critic of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Colombia’s first left-wing president Petro told X on Saturday that coal exports to Israel would be suspended “until the genocide in Gaza stops”.

A government announcement said the sanctions will remain in place until the International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders for interim measures are fully complied with.

As part of a pending case brought by South Africa in late May, the ICJ ordered Israel to end its attack on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, as well as to comply with the ‘provision of the uninterrupted supply’ of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territories and the release of hostages.

According to the Colombian government announcement, the coal export ban will take effect five days after its publication in the official gazette and will not affect products already approved for shipment.

Bogotá referred to the role of coal as a ‘strategic resource for the manufacture of weapons, the mobilization of troops and military operations’.

Petro also said Colombia would stop buying weapons made by Israel, one of the main arms suppliers to the South American country’s security forces.

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