US President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favour 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 UN 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 UN Security Council.
The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favour 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."
US Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a letter to dozens of UN 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 US will be taking names."
A senior Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Haley's letter as "poor tactics" at the United Nations "but pretty good for Haley 2020 or Haley 2024," referring to speculation that Haley might run for higher office. "She's not going to win any votes in the General Assembly or the Security Council, but she is going to win some votes in the US population," the Western diplomat said. A senior European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, agreed Haley was unlikely to sway many UN states.
At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names. pic.twitter.com/ZsusB8Hqt4— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 19, 2017
"We are missing some leadership here from the US and this type of letter is definitely not helping to establish US leadership in the Middle East peace process," the diplomat said. Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city's eastern sector, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally. "The first name that she should write down is Bolivia," Bolivia's UN Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz said of Haley's message. "We regret the arrogance and disrespect to the sovereign decision of member states and to multilateralism."
Referencing tomorrow's UN vote criticizing the US embassy move. In the words of the President, "Let them vote against us, we'll save a lot." pic.twitter.com/eUGWD4cCBR— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) December 20, 2017