Israel to Help Columbia Clear Deadly Mines

Israel Colombia
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hold folders with signed bilateral agreements in Bogota, Colombia, on Wednesday. (Reuters/Jaime Saldarriaga)

Israel has promised to assist Colombia in clearing anti-personnel mines, which have killed or injured over 11,000 people during the recently ended civil war there.

“Israel has been a friend and ally of Colombia, and lately it has been a great ally in the construction of peace in our country,” Santos said. “You have offered help to us in several areas, including, for example, something that is very humanitarian, which is the removal of anti-personnel mines.”

The mines are a deadly legacy of 52 years of civil war, leaving Colombia with more mines than any other country except Afghanistan.

“We are in the process of correcting this shameful situation,” Santos said at the Casa de Nariño presidential palace, where he was hosting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“We would like to strengthen the magnificent relations that we’ve enjoyed for so many years. As in every relationship, there is always room for growth. We want to cooperate much more with Israel. You have a lot of what we need, and we have a lot of what you need.”

“We’re excited by the post-conflict opportunities that are presented in Colombia,” Netanyahu said.

The humanitarian effort comes in addition to agreements signed to promote bilateral in several areas, including agriculture, water management, tourism and cybersecurity.