The United States will hold a reception for the countries that did not vote for a United Nations resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month.
The UN had voted 128-9 to declare Trump’s move as “null and void,” with 35 nations abstaining. The eight countries that voted with the U.S. against the measure included Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Paulu and Togo.
“As I said in December, we won’t forget the Jerusalem vote,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN Haley said during a press conference. “To that end, tomorrow night, we are having a reception for the countries who chose not to oppose the U.S. position.”
Important allies like Canada, Australia and Mexico were among the abstentions, while the UK and Germany voted in favor of the resolution, which was not legally binding. Nonetheless, it sends a clear message regarding world opinion on the Trump administration’s actions.
Trump and Haley threatened the UN by saying that the U.S. would consider withholding financial contributions to its efforts as a result. After the vote in November, Haley had said the U.S. “will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation…We will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more.”
Haley said she would “take names” at the vote, noting which countries did not side with the U.S. in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is a sacred city for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and both Israel and the Palestinians lay some claim to the ancient city.
The UN views the Jerusalem question as one of the last steps towards a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
UN Secretary General António Guterres spoke out against Trump’s decision.
“I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” Guterres said. “Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides.”