Trump threatens to slash aid to countries backing UN Jerusalem vote

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday cautioned he could slash funding to countries that support a UN General Assembly resolution on Thursday that seeks to annul the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“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 said at the White House, Reuters reported.

On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, Washington’s UN envoy, warned that she would report back to Trump with the names of those countries that support the resolution rejecting the US recognition.

“The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us,” she wrote to UN envoys. “We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.”

The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session on Thursday to vote on the proposed measure, after the US vetoed a similar resolution for the Security Council.

No country has veto power in the 193-nation General Assembly, contrary to the council, where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution. An overwhelming majority of UN member states are expected to back the resolution. While Security Council resolutions are binding, however, General Assembly measures are not.

A Security Council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure and not support the resolution.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Wednesday accused Washington of “threatening” member countries of the UN General Assembly over the vote.

Malki said American officials were “committing another mistake when they have distributed this famous letter trying to threaten countries, (and) threaten their sovereign decision to choose how to vote.”

He spoke at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul, shortly before both men left for New York.

“This is really a new definition of world order in politics and it seems that the American administration… are putting their stamp on a new political reality that many countries will reject,” Malki said.

Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent General Assembly meeting on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).