President Trump has threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reports Reuters.
“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 U.N. General Assembly held a rare emergency special session last Thursday, at the request of Arab and Muslim countries, and they voted on a draft resolution which the United States vetoed on Monday in the 15-member U.N. Security Council.
The U.S. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, echoed the president’s statement when she warned that she would be reporting “back on those countries who voted against us.” She wrote it in a letter to dozens of U.N. states on Tuesday.
In her speech to the entire council, she bluntly stated that “The U.S. will be taking names.”
That warning still didn’t seem to scare any of the senior diplomats and also said it was unlikely to change many votes in the General Assembly, where those kinds of direct threats are very rare.
Some diplomats brushed off the warning and saw it as just another publicity stunt done by Trump to garner more support from his followers back in the U.S.
“According to figures from the U.S. government’s aid agency USAID, in 2016 the United States provided some $13 billion in economic and military assistance to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and $1.6 billion to states in East Asia and Oceania,” reports Reuters. “It provided some $13 billion to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, $6.7 billion to countries in South and Central Asia, $1.5 billion to states in Europe and Eurasia and $2.2 billion to Western Hemisphere countries, according to USAID.”
As one can see, the U.S.’s help is needed throughout the world and cannot afford to be without it for very long.
Miroslav Lajcak, president of the General Assembly, declined to comment on Trump’s remarks, but added: “It’s the right and responsibility of member states to express their views.”
“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations, for all those nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the assembly,” Trump said.
Trump has recently reversed the decades-long U.S. policy this month to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The draft of the U.N. resolution calls on all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.
A senior diplomat from a Muslim country, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of Haley’s letter: “States resort to such blatant bullying only when they know they do not have a moral or legal argument to convince others.”
Palestinians and Israelis have been fighting over rightful claim over the city for centuries and it appears that battle will continue, no matter the U.S.’s efforts to try and resolve those issues.
But the United Nations should have taken his threat more seriously. Nikki Haley announced the U.S. would cut close to $300 million from the UN budget this week.