South American country to impose energy sanctions on Israel – Bloomberg

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Colombia is reportedly calling for coal export restrictions after severing diplomatic ties over the Gaza conflict

Colombia’s trade ministry is poised to curb coal exports to Israel in a bid to sanction the country over its military campaign in Gaza, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The South American country is Israel’s biggest coal supplier; its exports of the commodity to the Middle Eastern nation were worth about $450 million last year. Colombian coal accounted for over 60% of all coal supplied to Israel in 2023, 90% of which was exported by global giants Glencore and Drummond, data from energy analytics firm Kpler showed.

The Colombian trade ministry recommended that a committee responsible for tariffs and foreign trade “limit” shipments of the fuel, the outlet said, citing an internal document and a person familiar with the matter.

The intention of the coal sanctions is to “help end the armed conflict,” and should stay in place until the end of the hostilities, according to the ministry document. The decision on export restrictions could be made as soon as this week, the outlet noted.

Coal exports from Colombia to Israel account for just 1% of the Andean country’s total exports in terms of economic value, data showed. For Israel, however, it is a lifeline for its power grids, which depend on coal for 22% of its output.

Historically, Colombia had been one of Israel’s closest partners in Latin America. However, relations between the two nations have deteriorated sharply since the beginning of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

In May, Bogota broke diplomatic ties with Israel despite numerous bilateral agreements and military contracts, with Colombian President Gustavo Petro describing the operation in Gaza as “genocide.” In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Petro an “anti-Semitic supporter of Hamas.”

The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a series of raids into Israel on October 7 last year, dubbed ‘Al-Aqsa Flood.’ An estimated 1,200 Israelis were killed in the attacks, while another 250 were taken captive. Israel responded with a military offensive that has claimed the lives of over 36,000 Gazans and devastated much of the enclave’s infrastructure, according to its health authorities.

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