Colombia halts coal exports to Israel over Gaza war

Gustavo Petro (front) is the president of Colombia [Sebastian Barros/NurPhoto/Getty-archive]

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro on Saturday said the country, which is reported to be Israel’s biggest supplier of coal, will suspend exports of the fuel source to Israel over its assault on the Gaza Strip.

Petro, a leftist, cut diplomatic ties with Israel in May and has strongly criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a post on social media platform X, he said coal exports would be halted “until the genocide is stopped”, referring to Palestinians killed in Israel’s war. Israel denies accusations that its war violates the international Genocide Convention.

The measure will take effect in five days, according to a Colombian government decree, which said coal is used by Israel as an energy source to make weapons and other military goods.

“Colombia believes that the military operations against the Palestinian people represent a transgression of a peremptory norm of international law,” the document said.

According to the American Journal of Transportation, Colombia is the biggest supplier of coal to Israel, representing more than half of its imports.

Israel has relied on coal for 20 percent of its electricity generation but that is expected to drop to three percent, and it has other coal sources, the journal said.

Colombia’s private mining association has said such a ban would violate international agreements and put market confidence and foreign investment at risk.

Colombia is the world’s fifth largest coal producer, with Drummond and Glencore among its major miners.

The country sent 56.7 million metric tons of coal abroad last year, including three million tons to Israel, about 5.4 percent of total exports, according to government data.


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