UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly Thursday voted overwhelming to adopt a resolution rejecting U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, despite threats from President Donald Trump to cut off aid to countries supporting the motion.
The resolution, which Pakistan co-sponsored, received 128 votes to nine against, with 35 abstentions in the 193-member Assembly.
The emergency session was convened by Yemen on behalf of the Arab Group and Turkey on behalf of OIC, after the United States vetoed the motion at the Security Council on Monday where all other 14 council members voted in its favour.
Significantly, India did not co-sponsor the resolution, but voted in its favour. Although the resolution is non-binding, it reflected United States isolation on its move to accord recognition to Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Under the terms, the Assembly "affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council."
The draft resolution mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.
On the eve of the vote, Trump suggested there could be reprisals for countries that support the motion, saying "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 also said he plans to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
The resolution calls upon all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. The most recent resumed emergency session was in 2009 when the Assembly called a meeting on East Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territory .
Resolutions in the Assembly are non-binding and do not carry the force of international law as do measures agreed in the Security Council.
Reiterating its call for the reversal of the negative trends that endanger the two-State solution, the Assembly urged greater international and regional efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Speaking at a meeting of OIC group of Ambassadors on Tuesday, Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi to the UN reaffirmed Pakistan's support to the Palestinian cause and announced Pakistan's co-sponsorship of the resolution.
"Our support to the Palestinian cause and to the defence of al-Quds al Sharif is and has always been a core principle of Pakistan's foreign policy," Ambassador Lodhi said in a speech to the 57-member group's coordination meeting held to strategize its position for the Assembly's special session. "Our support remains unwavering," she added.
Ambassador Lodhi recalled that the first-ever stand alone General Assembly resolution on Jerusalem, GA Resolution 2253, adopted on 4th July 1967 at an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, was led and sponsored by Pakistan.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley sent an email to fellow UN envoys to put them on notice that "the president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us."
"We will take note of each and every vote on this issue," she wrote in the message seen by AFP. On Twitter, Haley posted that "the US will be taking names" when the ambassadors of the 193-nation assembly cast their vote on Thursday.
"Nikki, that was the right message," Trump said.
A council diplomat said Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic might bow to US pressure, but the motion is all but certain to be approved.
No country has veto powers in the General Assembly, contrary to the council where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution.
This procedure, under Assembly resolution 377 (1950), is a pathway around a Security Council veto. By it, the Assembly can call an emergency special session to consider a matter "with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures," if the Security Council fails to act or if there is lack of unanimity among the Council's permanent members, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Since the tenth such meeting, the Assembly has temporarily adjourned the emergency special session and authorized "the President of the General Assembly to resume its meeting upon request from Member States," allowing for speedy consideration by the body of urgent issues.
The most recent resumed emergency session was in 2009 when the Assembly called a meeting on East Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territory .