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Trump threatens to cut aid over UN Jerusalem vote

Countries put on notice for intending to vote for resolution decrying US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that vote in favour of a draft UN resolution condemning the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump said at the White House on Wednesday the US would be "watching those votes" in the General Assembly.

"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," Reuters news agency quoted Trump as saying.

The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session on Thursday to vote on the controversial US decision.

The motion is expected to pass easily in the 193-member UN body, but it will be non-binding.

Trump's comments came after Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, sent threatening letters to UN member states, urging them to vote against the motion.

Haley also said on Twitter "the US will be taking names" of countries that vote in favour of the resolution.

Riyad al-Malki, Palestinian foreign minister, on Wednesday accused the US of "threatening" member countries of the UN General Assembly in advance of 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".

"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.

The UN session would show "how many countries will opt to vote with their conscience".

Trump declared on December 6 Jerusalem to be Israel's capital and announced the intention to move its embassy to the city.

The contentious move prompted large-scale protests and condemnation from leaders around the world.

US veto

The US vetoed on Tuesday an Egyptian-sponsored UN Security Council resolution that called on countries not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

The US was outnumbered 14 to 1 when it vetoed that resolution.

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said the Swedish ambassador to the UN has signalled the country would vote in favour of the resolution.

"What we're going to be seeing in the General Assembly Thursday, on that particular vote, is likely to be a sweeping condemnation now not just of attempts to alter the status of Jerusalem, but also in a way an opinion poll on President Trump's isolationist policies," he said.

The angry Arab: Covering Donald Trump's Jerusalem move

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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