THREATS MADE OVER JERUSALEM VOTE
President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“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 told reporters at the White House.
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday – at the request of Arab and Muslim countries – to vote on a draft resolution, which the United States vetoed on Monday in the 15-member U.N. Security Council.
The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a letter to dozens of U.N. states on Tuesday seen by Reuters, warned that Trump had asked her to “report back on those countries who voted against us.”
She bluntly echoed that call in a Twitter post: “The U.S. will be taking names.”
Several senior diplomats said Haley’s warning was unlikely to change many votes in the General Assembly, where such direct, public threats are rare. Some diplomats brushed off the warning as more likely aimed at impressing U.S. voters.
According to figures from the U.S. government’s aid agency USAID, in 2016 the United States provided some $13 billion in economic and military assistance to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and $1.6 billion to states in East Asia and Oceania.
It provided some $13 billion to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, $6.7 billion to countries in South and Central Asia, $1.5 billion to states in Europe and Eurasia and $2.2 billion to Western Hemisphere countries, according to USAID.
Miroslav Lajcak, president of the General Assembly, declined to comment on Trump’s remarks, but added: “It’s the right and responsibility of member states to express their views.”
A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also declined to comment on Trump’s remarks on Wednesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump excuses reporters after his remarks to them at the start of a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations, for all those nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the assembly,” Trump said.
Trump abruptly reversed decades of U.S. policy this month when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, generating outrage from Palestinians and the Arab world and concern among Washington’s Western allies.
He also plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The draft U.N. resolution calls on all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.
I am not a blind follower of Trump, but he has a very good point. Many countries have been getting a massive amount of money from the U.S. for years but still want to condemn everything we do. If they do not like the things we do, then stop taking out money and relief efforts.