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Colombia's foreign minister says his country has become the latest to recognise Palestinian statehood.

Carlos Holmes said on Wednesday that the outgoing government of President Juan Manuel Santos made the decision last week, shortly before leaving office.

New President Ivan Duque was sworn in on Tuesday. His government said it would study the implications of Santos' last minute decision on the Palestinians, but acknowledged that it was legal.

The United States doesn't recognise a Palestinian state, and Colombia long refrained from doing so due to its close ties with Washington. But in recent years Colombia has sought to chart a more independent foreign policy that has included calling for changes to US-backed anti-narcotics policies.

Colombia is the last country in South American to recognise Palestinian statehood.