Bolivia to renew Israel ties after rupture under Morales

Bolivia says it will restore diplomatic ties with Israel, a decade after then-President Evo Morales severed relations because of an Israeli military offensive in Gaza

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivia said Thursday it will restore diplomatic ties with Israel, a decade after then-President Evo Morales severed relations because of an Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

The renewal of ties with Israel was announced by interim Foreign Minister Karen Longaric as part of an overhaul of Bolivia’s foreign policy following Morales’ resignation this month.

Many Israeli tourists visited Bolivia before Morales cut off relations with Israel, and the hope is that they will return, Longaric said.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, welcomed the Bolivian announcement.

He said Israel’s Foreign Ministry had worked for a lengthy period to restore relations.

The ouster of Bolivia’s former “hostile” president, Morales, and replacement with a “friendly government” had also made it possible, Katz said.

Bolivia’s interim government has also named Walter Oscar Serrate Cuellar as the new ambassador to the United States after an 11-year diplomatic rupture.

Morales, who espoused socialism, claimed victory in an Oct. 20 presidential election. But opposition protesters alleged fraud and the military turned on Morales, forcing him to resign and seek asylum in Mexico.

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Associated Press journalist Josef Federman in Jerusalem contributed.