To thank the 65 countries that did not support a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s position on Jerusalem, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley invited her counterparts from those states to a festive reception.
Haley extended the invitation Thursday, hours after a resolution condemning Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital passed thanks to a majority of 128 in favour at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the nrg news site reported.
Trump announced the move on Dec. 6, ending decades of US ambiguity on the status of the city which both Israel and the Palestinians claims as their capital. Nine countries voted against the resolution, including Israel, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras and Togo.
But 35 countries — including the six EU member states Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Latvia – abstained. The rest of the European Union voted in favour of the resolution. The representatives of a further 21 countries were absent at the vote, which was the 10th time in the history of the United Nations that the General Assembly was convened for an emergency voting.
The absent countries included Kenya, which was the fifth-largest recipient of US aid last year, Georgia and Ukraine, all of which have close ties with the United States.
Absenteeism is unusual in emergency session votes.
Prior to the vote, Trump wrote on Twitter: “We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” His words were widely interpreted as a threat to cut aid to countries that vote against the United States position on Jerusalem.
The resolution, sponsored by Yemen and Turkey, reaffirmed what has been the United Nations’ stand on the divided holy city since 1967: that Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Later Thursday an invitation was sent around to the countries that did not support the resolution on Jerusalem, to attend a reception with Haley in January. The event was labeled as a means to thank the countries for “their friendship to the United States,” according to a copy of the invite obtained by CNN.
In her speech at the emergency vote, Haley noted that the “United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies.”
Aid is given, she added, “in order to advance our values and our interests. When that happens, our participation in the United Nations produces great good for the world.” The United States does this “because it represents who we are. It is our American way.”
But, Haley said, “we’ll be honest with you. When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognised and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organisation, that nation is disrespected. What’s more, that nation is asked to pay for the ‘privilege’ of being disrespected.”
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