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US envoy threatens UN members ahead of Jerusalem vote: Trump is ‘watching’

December 20, 2017 at 10:37 am

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (R) greets US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (L) after the UN Security Council meeting in New York, US on 18 December 2017 [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley sent a threatening letter to General Assembly member states, ahead of tomorrow’s scheduled vote on President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reported Haaretz.

“The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us,” Haley wrote. “Thank you for your consideration, and please do not hesitate to contact my team with any questions or concerns.”

The letter continued: “As you know, the General Assembly is considering a resolution about President Trump’s recent decision on Jerusalem. As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally.”

The UN General Assembly is set to meet tomorrow at 10am local time (EST), for an emergency discussion on Jerusalem. Turkey and Yemen requested the meeting after the US vetoed an Egyptian-sponsored draft resolution at the UN Security Council, which was backed by all 14 other council members.

Read: Biased Mediators: The End of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks, and How It Happened

In the letter, Haley sought to downplay the significance of the US policy shift.

“Twenty-two years ago, the US congress declared that Jerusalem should be recognised as the capital of Israel, and that the US embassy should be moved to Jerusalem. President Trump affirmed that declaration by officially recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

She added: “However, the President’s announcement does not affect final status negotiations in any way, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The president also made sure to support the status quo of Jerusalem’s holy sites, and did not advocate changes to arrangements at the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif.”

“The US announcement is an acknowledgment that peace is best advanced, not set back, when all parties are honest Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since the country’s founding nearly seventy years ago The President clearly voiced support for a two-state solution if that’s what the sides agree on.”

Haley urged member states to consider whether the resolution might fuel “the heated rhetoric and violence”.

Haley also tweeted yesterday that the US will be “taking names” of those who criticise the decision to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has urged its diplomats worldwide to lobby their host countries to oppose the General Assembly resolution, or at least to refrain from publicly expressing support.

READ: Israeli PM thanks US ambassador to UN for veto