The mayor of Bogota gave the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, the key to the city Monday in recognition of the leader’s first ever visit to Colombia.
Abbas arrived in Colombia Sunday and will meet with President Juan Manuel Santos Tuesday. His visit to Colombia is one of a number of visits to UN countries that are not in favor of Palestinian statehood.
On receiving the key to the city, the Palestinian president told the assembly that he does not want any more wars, that his people maintain hope for peace and that they will not respond to the calls of extremists.
The president of the Palestinian authority has denied that the purpose of his visit to Colombia is to pressure the Colombian government to recognize a Palestinian state, but rather to obtain their assistance in the mediation process, reported Caracol Radio.
According to a political advisor to the Palestinian mission in the country, Abbas is not in Colombia with the intention of changing Colombia’s vote in the United Nations against Palestinian statehood.
According to the advisor, Alexander Monteros, “there has been a false expectation about the goal. The goal is not to change the vote of Colombia, we know that it is a sovereign decision that belongs to each country.”
Monteros claimed that the reason for the official visit is to explore any possible avenues through which Colombia might be able to assist in the mediation process between Israel and Palestine.
Colombia chose to abstain from voting on the issue of Palestinian statehood, stating that it views bilateral diplomacy as the only way to peace.