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Trump threatens to punish countries defying his Jerusalem stance

Trump's 6 December decision to recognise Jerusalem broke with decades of foreign policy. [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 December, 2017

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Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut funding to countries that vote against the US on a motion at the United Nations condemning Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut funding to countries that vote against the US on a motion at the United Nations condemning Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session on Thursday to vote on a draft resolution that the United States vetoed at the Security Council after all other 14 countries backed the measure.

On Tuesday US Ambassador Nikki Haley  warned countries that she will report back to Trump with the names of those who support a draft resolution rejecting the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"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 will mirror the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.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".

International diplomats expect strong support for the resolution, which is non-binding, despite the US pressure to either abstain or vote against it. 

A council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure and not support the draft resolution.

'Threats' from Washington

Trump's 6 December decision to recognise Jerusalem broke with decades of foreign policy and international consensus, triggering global protests and drawing strong condemnation.

Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favour of the measure and were expected to do the same on Thursday at the assembly.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki accused Washington of "threatening" member-states, saying it was "another mistake" following the US veto at the Security Council.

Malki said the UN session would show "how many countries will opt to vote with their conscience".

Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that Jerusalem is an "issue that must be resolved through negotiations".

"They will vote for justice and they will vote in favour of that resolution that was presented by both Yemen and Turkey on behalf of the Arab group and OIC," Malki said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country expected "strong support" for the Palestinian Authority in the UN General Assembly. 

"Everyone with a conscience ... is against this decision that usurped Palestine's rights," he said.

The foreign minister said any honourable country would not bow to US pressure, urging Washington to reverse its mistake.

"God willing, I believe we will obtain a good result tomorrow (Thursday)," he added. 

East Jerusalem is considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law.

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