UN member-states will vote on Thursday on a motion rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, under strong pressure from President Donald Trump who has threatened to cut funding to countries that back the measure.
The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session to decide on a draft resolution that the United States vetoed at the Security Council on Monday after all other 14 council members voted in favour of the measure.
On the eve of the vote, Trump suggested there could be reprisals for countries that support the motion, put forward by Yemen and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us,” Trump said at the White House.
“Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
The draft resolution mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.
It does not mention Trump’s decision but expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”
Diplomats expect strong support for the resolution, which is non-binding, despite the US pressure to either abstain, and vote against it or simply not turn up for the vote.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley sent an email to fellow UN envoys to put them on notice that “the president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us.”
“We will take note of each and every vote on this issue,” she wrote in the message seen by AFP.
On Twitter, Haley posted that “the US will be taking names” when the ambassadors of the 193-nation assembly cast their vote on Thursday.
“Nikki, that was the right message,” Trump said.
A council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure, but the motion is all but certain to be approved.
No country has veto powers in the General Assembly, contrary to the council where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution.