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Bolivia restores relations with Israel

1 min

La Paz (AFP)

Bolivia said Thursday it is restoring diplomatic relations with Israel, which it severed in 2009 under then president Evo Morales over Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Karen Longaric made the announcement in a meeting with foreign reporters, without giving a date for the establishment or any other details.

Morales resigned November 10 and fled to Mexico after a disputed election triggered weeks of street protests and blockades that left dozens dead.

He cut off relations with Israel in December 2008 after an Israeli offensive in Gaza in which hundreds of Palestinians were killed. He also classified Israel as a terrorist nation and cancelled an accord under which Israelis could visit Bolivia without a visa.

"It was a political measure that did not take into effect the collateral effects, such as economic and trade issues," said Longaric, adding that restoring these ties would be good for the Bolivian tourism industry.

Bolivia has recognized Palestinian statehood since the 1980s.

Israel's Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz welcomed the move, saying it would "contribute to Israel’s foreign relations and its global standing."

"The departure of the hostile President Morales and his replacement with an administration friendly to Israel enabled the fruition of the move," Katz said in a statement.

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