Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas is scheduled to visit Colombia, a country which holds a non permanent seat at the UN Security Council and could cast a decisive vote for the recognition of a State of Palestine.
“We’re coordinating the dates, most probably in the week of 10 October”, said Colombian Foreign Affairs minister Maria Angela Holguín. “I think it is important for president Abbas to personally address the issue with President (Juan Manuel) Santos, as he did with several other leaders at the UN”.
Abbas presented in the current General Assembly a formal request to have the Palestine Authority recognized as a UN full member.
Contrary to most of the rest of Latin America Colombia supports the view that a State of Palestine must be the result of a negotiated solution with Israel, position that Ms Holguín ratified last week.
“Colombia’s position dates back to many years and we are consistent with that policy: with no dialogue between the sides involved it’s going to be very difficult to live in peace in the region”.
Abbas visit to Colombia, and Honduras, Dominican Republic and Portugal, was announced following on Palestine delegates statements that they have managed the support of at least eight of fifteen members of the Security Council.
With nine votes out of 15, and if there is no veto, the Security Council can make a recommendation for statehood and the request would then be examined by the General Assembly.
“We already have eight votes in the Council that will be supporting Palestine and we are working hard for the ninth and tenth votes”, said Rivad al-Malki, Foreign Affairs minister of the PNA.
Six members of the Security Council have anticipated their vote in favour of the Palestinians: China, Russia, Brazil, India, Lebanon, and South Africa. A further two have promised their vote, Nigeria and Gabon.
Other countries remain undecided or have not disclosed their positions: France, Germany, UK, Bosnia and Portugal. Colombia has advanced it would abstain from casting a vote.
“We are not going to recognize (the State of Palestine) because others do so”, said Minister Holguin who added that a vote in the Security Council “won’t achieve anything”.
“The Security Council already has the US that has announced it will veto any possibility on the issue, so it’s not a matter of more of less votes”, said Holguín.
The main ally of the US in Latin America Colombia has very good relations with Israel. Besides the non permanent seat in the Security Council, Colombia currently holds the chair of Unasur with former minister Maria Emma Mejía.