Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak left Sunday for a five-day visit to Colombia and the United States where he will hold talks with top officials, reported AFP.
Barak will meet with his Colombian counterpart Juan Carlos Pinzon, as well as President Juan Manuel Santos and Foreign Affairs Minister Maria Angela Holguin in Bogota Monday on the first step of the tour, according to weekly Semana.
He will also conduct interviews with Colombia’s military chiefs-of-staff and other senior administration officials.
The Israeli minister will then travel Thursday to the U.S. to hold talks in Washington with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Barak is due to return to Israel later that night.
Maria Holguin traveled to the Middle East in October last year in the hope of brokering talks between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Holguin met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the surprise visit that came just weeks after discussions in the region had broken down.
Abbas had been hoping for Colombia to back Palestine’s bid for full state membership at the United Nations.
Colombia, which is a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has so far refused to recognize a Palestinian state in line with its traditional allies the U.S. and Israel.
President Santos has previously expressed Colombia’s support for the creation of a Palestinian state through peaceful dialogue that includes the two sides. Colombia currently deploys soldiers in the Sinai region as part of the U.N’s peace-keeping mission.