Chilean President Gabriel Boric reveals plans for embassy in Palestine

Dozens of countries have diplomatic representation in Palestinian territories but only a handful have official embassies

Chilean President Gabriel Boric made the remarks at a Christmas celebration with members of Chile's Palestinian community. AFP
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Chile's President Gabriel Boric has announced that Santiago plans to open an embassy in Palestine.

The left-wing leader, who took office in March, made the announcement during a Christmas celebration with members of Chile’s Palestinian community.

The South American country is thought to host the largest number of Palestinians outside the Arab world, with estimates of 300,000 to 500,000.

“One of the decisions we have taken as a government, I think we have not yet made it public … is that we will raise the level of our official representation in Palestine,” Mr Boric said on Wednesday. “We will open an embassy under our government.”

Dozens of countries have representative offices in the West Bank, but few have formal embassies, among them Venezuela, Tunisia and Oman. The move would make Chile the fourth Latin American country with full diplomatic representation in Palestine.

Mr Boric said upgrading representative status there was a move "so basic, so simple which today is not being done, which is that international law is being respected".

Chile recognised Palestine as a state and supported its entrance into Unesco in 2011.

Mr Boric this year postponed a credential ceremony for Israel's new ambassador to the country over the death of a Palestinian teenager during an Israeli military operation, Reuters reported.

Mr Boric, 36, is Chile's youngest ever leader. He was profiled by Time magazine this year as a "millennial president" and "new kind of leftist leader".

His election came amid a pivot to the left in the Americas.

After years of right-wing political victories, leftists have recently won power in five of Latin America’s six largest economies, many on campaigns promising to fight social and economic inequality.

Updated: December 22, 2022, 6:46 PM