JERUSALEM – Bolivia announced that it will renew its diplomatic ties with Israel after a decade in which relations between the two countries were severed.
Speaking to the foreign press, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Karen Longaric, said: “We will restore relations with Israel.”
Longaric said diplomatic relations will resume “out of respect for state sovereignty, cordiality” and because “they could lead to positive aspects for both parties and contribute to Bolivian tourism.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed Bolivia’s decision to reestablish relations with Israel and indicated that “it will contribute to strengthening the country’s foreign relations and its position in the world.”
Katz commented that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been working for a long time directly, as well as through the mediation of the president of Brazil, to promote the renewal of relations” with Bolivia.
“I have recently discussed the matter with the Brazilian Foreign Minister at the UN Assembly in New York,” Katz explained.
“The resignation of President Morales , who was hostile to Israel, and his replacement by a friendly administration, has allowed the process to take place,” Katz added.
In 2010, President Evo Morales formally recognized Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within the 1967 borders, those prior to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, as indicated by international law.
Earlier that year, Brazil and Argentina did the same, decisions that the United States and Israel criticized as counterproductive and harmful.
In 2009, Morales broke diplomatic ties with Israel after Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s offensive in Gaza in 2008, and said he would ask the International Criminal Court to bring genocide charges against senior Israeli officials in protest of hundreds of Palestinians.
“Bolivia maintained diplomatic relations with Israel. [But] considering these serious attacks against humanity, Bolivia will cease to have diplomatic relations with Israel,” Morales said at the time in a speech to diplomats in the government palace.
According to Longaric, the decision was taken at that time as “a measure of a political nature without consideration of consequences, such as economic and commercial parts.”