The United Nations will vote in an emergency session Thursday on a draft resolution that criticizes President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
But as the Trump administration is making clear, any country that votes in favor of the resolution could face retaliation from the U.S.
The United States ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley sent a letter of warning to most of the U.N.’s 193 member states, the Associated Press reports. “The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us,” she wrote, according to the AP. “We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.”
Haley said the Trump administration is “simply asking that you acknowledge the historical friendship, partnership, and support we have extended and respect our decision about our own embassy.”
In a tweet, she was more direct: “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. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”
Trump struck the same note on Wednesday, threatening to cut off aid to countries that vote in favor of the resolution.
“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,” he said to outlets including Reuters.
“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, according to the wire service.
The Trump administration said its decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem recognizes the reality that it is the seat of Israel’s government. But Palestinians living there seek part of the city as a capital for a future independent state. U.S. policy has been that the city’s status will be resolved in peace talks.
The resolution is similar to one that came before the Security Council on Monday. The United States exercised its veto power as a permanent member of the Council, but the other 14 members all approved it, including U.S. allies Britain and Japan.
Each member state has equal voting rights in the General Assembly. A vote calling for the U.S. to withdraw its plan to move its embassy would be nonbinding, but would indicate global opinion on the matter.
“We expect strong support at the UN vote, but we see that the United States, which was left alone, is now resorting to threats. No honourable, dignified country would bow down to this pressure,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki said member states “will vote for justice, and they will vote in favor of that resolution,” the AP reports.
Reuters reports the emergency session was called at the request of Arab and Muslim states.