WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft UN resolution condemning the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Trump said at the White House on Wednesday the US would be “watching those votes” in the General Assembly.
“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,” media quoted Trump as saying.
The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session today (Thursday) to vote on the controversial US decision.
The motion is expected to pass easily in the 193-member UN body, but it will be non-binding.
Trump’s comments came after Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, sent threatening letters to UN member states, urging them to vote against the motion.
Haley also said on Twitter “the US will be taking names” of countries that vote in favour of the resolution.
The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
Israel occupied the east of the city, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.
The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. However, President Trump has told the US state department to start work on moving the US embassy.
The 193-member UN General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday at the request of Arab and Muslim states, who condemned Trump’s decision to reverse decades of US policy earlier this month.
The Palestinians called for the meeting after the US vetoed a Security Council resolution, which affirmed that any decisions on the status of Jerusalem were “null and void and must be rescinded”, and urged all states to “refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the holy city”.