What Did Iván Duque Look For In The Middle East?

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The Colombian president has just finished his most recent international tour. In addition to economic and commercial agreements, Iván Duque in the Middle East strengthened ties of military cooperation .

Iván Duque and the Prime Minister of Israel, Naftali Bennet

The official visit of the president seeks historical agreements in which the exchange between the two nations is strengthened, these two being important strategic geographic centers of trade and security. Photo: TW-IvanDuque

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Qué fue a buscar Iván Duque en Medio Oriente?

After attending COP 26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom, the most important meeting of leaders in the field of the Environment, and his visit to France, Iván Duque took advantage and continued his tour of the Middle East. The Latin president visited the United Arab Emirates and later arrived in Israel.

What is Duque looking for with his visit to the Middle East?

Duque's destinations were two countries in the region that are of utmost importance to Colombian interests in the Middle East. The first destination was the United Arab Emirates, a nation that represents large investment funds.

Duque was with the firm intention of turning Colombia into the main economic partner of this small, but the rich nation. Among the businesses in common is cooperation for renewable energy, air transport, tourism, and trade, but also investment in mining, criticized both in Colombia by environmentalists and by the international community.

The official visit of the president seeks historical agreements in which the exchange between the two nations is strengthened, these two being important strategic geographic centers of trade and security. Duque and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed signed an agreement to make Colombia the hub for further investment from the UAE. In this way, this small nation with large investments in the world will have in the Andean country the center of its investments in the region.

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The case of Minesa in Santurbán, Colombia, is a recurring theme in terms of rights to preserve nature and the need to obtain investment for a country hit by the crisis left by the pandemic.

Whereas in Israel, the intentions are much more diverse. The Jewish nation and Colombia have been great diplomatic, military, and economic allies. These were precisely the points in which Duque tried to strengthen with the Israeli president. Precisely, the alliance with Israel seeks to maintain the FTA signed between both countries in 2020 to open the export of more than 7,000 Colombian products.

But perhaps the most relevant field between Tel Aviv and Bogotá's relationship is security. Mainly because Israel is one of the main suppliers of weapons and elements of the military industry.

For the first time in history, Colombia takes a hostile position towards Iran, a regional power in the Middle East, but which has recently increased its influence in Latin America, especially with economic and military cooperation agreements with Venezuela.

So, despite the fact that many categorize the statement of the Colombian Defense Minister as inappropriate, dangerous, and naive, it also suggests that for Colombia, Iran is a security danger, not so much because of the uranium enrichment that Israel fears so much. but for the support that it can give to the Colombian neighbor, who in recent history have maintained hostile relations.

Colombia finds an alliance in Israel that could also mean a bloc that makes Tehran-Caracas against the weight. Something that was materialized with the entry to the list of terrorist groups of the Colombian Government, organizations such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Shiite militia of Hezbollah, allies of the Islamic country.

Even Duque called for Tehran to dismiss its nuclear enrichment program that poses a threat to Israel and other countries in the region.

His visit to Israel culminated in Colombia's first innovation office in Jerusalem, the holy city that is a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although it is not an embassy, which would grant the city recognition as the capital of Israel, it is a small step in this direction, ignoring UN resolutions calling for leaving Jerusalem as a neutral city.

The Colombian Government classified as a success, the tour was undertaken between Europe and the Middle East, with the collection of more than USD 3,500 million in investment and credits, Iván Duque's commitment to economic reactivation.