US to 'take names' at UN vote on Jerusalem decision

MAKING A LIST: "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." - US AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY
MAKING A LIST: "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." - US AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEYPHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Envoy warns that those opposed to US decision will be reported to Trump

UNITED NATIONS • US Ambassador Nikki Haley has warned countries that she will report back to President Donald Trump with the names of those who support a draft resolution rejecting Washington's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The UN General Assembly will hold a rare emergency session today to vote on the proposed measure that the United States vetoed at the Security Council.

"The President will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us," said a letter from Ms Haley. "We will take note of each and every vote on this issue," she wrote to several UN ambassadors.

On Twitter, Ms Haley posted "the US will be taking names" during the vote at the 193-nation assembly in New York.

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mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

Egypt had put forward the draft at the council which was backed by all 14 other Security Council members in the vote on Monday.

Like the Egyptian draft, the text before the assembly does not mention Mr Trump's decision but expresses "deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem".

Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said he expected "overwhelming support" for the measure stating that Jerusalem is an issue "to be resolved through negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The General Assembly will say, without the fear of the veto, that the international community is refusing to accept the unilateral position of the United States," Mr Mansour told reporters.

No country has veto powers in the General Assembly, contrary to the Security Council where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution.

Mr Trump's Dec 6 decision to recognise Jerusalem broke with international consensus, triggering protests across the Muslim world 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 put forward by Egypt. After that vote, Ms Haley described the 14-1 vote as "an insult" and warned "it won't be forgotten".

She went further on Tuesday, warning in her Twitter post: "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."

Under a 1950 resolution, an emergency special session can be called for the General Assembly to consider a matter "with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures" if the Security Council fails to act.

Only 10 such sessions have been convened, and the last time the General Assembly met in such a session was in 2009, on occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian territories.

Today's meeting will be a resumption of that session.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2017, with the headline 'US to 'take names' at UN vote on Jerusalem decision'. Print Edition | Subscribe