i24News contributing journalist Enrique Cymerman spoke with Colombian President Ivan Duque about the ties between Columbia and Israel.
"Colombia is a country that has ties that have been strengthening with Israel and also with the United Arab Emirates,” Duque said. “There has been a relationship with Israel since 1949. A dynamic relationship of cooperation, and I dare to say it very clearly: Colombia is Israel's main ally in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
“For us, Israel has been a partner and a friend in matters of security, innovation and science and technology, and the relationship has reached the highest point through the free trade agreement that we signed last year that is now being implemented. So for us, the relationship with Israel is not simply that of a partner, no, it is that of a brother".
Duque discussed Columbia’s actions against terrorism. “Without a doubt, Colombia is a country that has historically condemned international terrorism, it always has. And Colombia in fact hosted, last year, at the beginning of the year, a regional antiterrorist summit, where Colombia cross-referenced its lists of terrorist groups, with that of the European Union, with that of the United States, and clearly Hezbollah is there.”
“For us Hezbollah is a terrorist group, and where we see Hezbollah activities in our territory, we act fast and strong, and in fact, we have captured members who were allegedly working for Hezbollah seeking targets for terrorist acts in our country. And we also did it recently with a person linked to the Islamic State. So in that, our front is very clear. We always censor the existence of relations between states and terrorist groups.”
Addressing his country’s ties to Iran, Duque said that “Colombia has diplomatic relations with Iran. It always had them. And sometimes, in the international arena, you often have diplomatic relations, but that doesn't necessarily mean an absence of differences. Differences are welcome, but we have a diplomatic relationship.”
“Now, we, Colombia, are on the governance council of the international atomic energy organization. And we within that governance council have expressed the positions of concern. Because for some time Iran has not allowed the members of the international atomic energy organization to supervise on site, so that they can verify that there is no proliferation or development of nuclear capabilities.
“We are a country that supports the concept of nuclear non-proliferation, and we are a country that also demands in the international arena that no more circumstances of nuclear risk be created for different regions, and we will maintain that position consistently when we have to.”