The United Nations (UN) has delivered a stinging rebuke of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, casting an overwhelming vote condemning the move and calling on the United States of America to withdraw the decision.
The final vote count in favor of the resolution was 128. Only nine countries opposed the resolution while 35 abstained. The resolution — essentially a formal statement of a UN opinion — is not legally binding. But, it represents a condemnation of Trump’s decision and exerts political pressure on him to reverse the move.
Some of the US’ closest allies moved to condemn the decision. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan, among others, voted in favor of the resolution. Other allies, like Canada, Mexico and Australia, abstained.
In the run-up to the General Assembly vote, Trump and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, sought to warn countries against opposing Trump administration’s Jerusalem decision.
“The US will remember this day, in which it was singled out in this Assembly, for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when, once again, we are called up to make the world’s largest contribution to the UN and we will remember it when many countries come calling on us to pay even more, and to use our influence for their benefit,” ” Haley said ahead of the vote.
She had sent a letter to members of the international body this week, with a warning that Trump had instructed her to take stock of the countries that vote in favour of the resolution. The president followed up on that warning on Wednesday, suggesting at a Cabinet meeting that the US could cut off foreign aid for countries that opposed the US in the vote.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then, they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump said.
The General Assembly vote came days after the US vetoed a similar resolution in the UN Security Council. The panel’s other 14 members voted in favor of that measure, a move that Haley called an “insult” to the US.Shortly after the Security Council vote, Arab and Muslim leaders at the UN called for an emergency special session of the General Assembly, to discuss the US’s Jerusalem decision.