Trump threatens to cut aid to UN members over Jerusalem vote

US President Donald Trump threatens to cut aid to UN members over Jerusalem vote (AP)
Updated 20 December 2017
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Trump threatens to cut aid to UN members over Jerusalem vote

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump threatened to cut funding Wednesday to countries that vote against the United States on a motion at the United Nations condemning Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“All these nations that take our money and then vote against us at the Security Council and they vote against us potentially at the Assembly,” Trump said at the White House.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes,” he continued.
“Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
Nikki Haley, Washington’s UN envoy, had warned countries Tuesday that she would report back to Trump with the names of those who supported a draft resolution rejecting the US recognition.
“Nikki, that was the right message,” Trump said.
The 193-member UN General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday at the request of Arab and Muslim countries on the controversial US decision.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki accused Washington of “threatening” member countries of the UN General Assembly ahead of Thursday’s vote.


Divided UN council heads to Sweden for farmhouse retreat

Updated 19 April 2018
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Divided UN council heads to Sweden for farmhouse retreat

  • 15 ambassadors will join Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the secluded getaway in a country setting.
  • The three-day retreat will begin on Friday.

United Nations, United States: After a week of bitter acrimony over Syria, UN Security Council ambassadors are heading to a farmhouse in southern Sweden for a retreat to try to break the deadlock over how to end the war.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley and her Russian counterpart Vassily Nebenzia will be among the 15 ambassadors joining Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the secluded getaway in a country setting.
The three-day retreat beginning Friday comes after one of the council’s most divisive periods, with the United States and Russia split over the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma that lead to military action by Washington and its allies against Syria.
The council met five times on Syria last week including on Tuesday when Russia vetoed a US-drafted resolution setting up a chemical weapons probe while two other proposed measures failed to pass.
The Russia-US rivalry prompted Guterres to declare that the Cold War was “back with a vengeance.”
Asked whether he expected awkward moments during the Swedish retreat, Nebenzia told reporters: “I will see how they feel about dealing with me after all that happened.”
“It’s not news to anyone that the council is divided on Syria,” said Sweden’s Deputy UN Ambassador Carl Skau. “There is some need for humility and patience at this moment.”
The council will be staying at Backakra, the summer residence of Dag Hammarskjold, who was the United Nations’ second secretary-general.
The residence located on the southern tip of Sweden, far from Stockholm, is a “fitting and inspiring venue” to reconnect with the power of diplomacy, said Skau.
“It’s a place to roll up our sleeves, take off our jackets and ties and come up with some real and meaningful ways forward,” he said.
The annual brainstorming session usually takes place in upstate New York, but Sweden, which is a non-permanent council member, offered to host this year’s gathering.
Guterres had told council members that the focus of the meeting would be his plan for a “surge of diplomacy” to address conflicts worldwide, but the council’s deadlock over Syria is emerging as the top priority.