Nepal votes against US move on Jerusalem amid threats of aid cut
December 23, 2017 08:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Dec 22: Despite threats from the United States to withhold "billions" of dollars in US aid for countries which would vote in favor of a UN resolution rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Nepal has chosen to vote against the US call.
Nepal was one of the 128 countries that voted against the unilateral call of President Donald Trump to make Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Bhutan was the only South Asian country among the 35 nations that abstained from voting while 21 countries didn't turn up for the vote.
The UNGA emergency meeting was called after the US vetoed a draft resolution sponsored by Egypt rejecting Trump's move during a UN Security Council meeting on Monday. The Security Council resolution that demanded all countries comply with the pre-existing UN Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem dating back to 1967, was backed by 14 of the 15 Security Council members, including many traditional allies of the US.
Nepal has long maintained that the existing UN resolutions, which do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city, as the only viable option for maintaining peace in the Middle East. In the voting held on Thursday, only nine UN member states including the United States, Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo backed the US move.
A total of 35 UN member states had chosen to abstain from voting amid threats from the Trump administration to adopt coercive diplomacy on those voting against the US decision. Another 21 member states were absent from the vote. Israel's lobbying may have had some effect, according to analysts.
Those abstaining from voting include Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Haiti, Hungary, Jamaica, Kiribati, Latvia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda and Vanuatu.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had also warned that the US would 'take names of those who vote to reject Jerusalem recognition'.
The resolution, co-sponsored by Turkey and Yemen, called Trump's recognition "null and void", while reaffirming 10 Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967. The resolutions require that the city's final status must be decided through bilateral negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians. Analysts said the overwhelming number of UN member states going against Trump's decision is an indication of the dwindling US influence and global leadership in recent years.