Mainland Africa’s smallest nation, The Gambia whisked threats by U.S. President Donald Trump, voting in favor of a UN resolution for Washington to stand down from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump has threatened to withhold funding to nations that voted to support the UN decision rejecting Trump’s contentious move.
“We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
Trump’s threats were ignored. Only nine countries voted alongside the U.S. and Israel, and out of the nine, only one country, Togo is from Africa.
The Gambia is among 128 nations that voted against Trump’s decision that has been criticized as a threat to peace talks in the Middle East and the two-state solution. Thirty-five nations abstained.
In his maiden UN address, President Adama Barrow said The Gambia “remain deeply concerned that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict still defies resolution.
“My Government firmly subscribes to the idea of a two-state solution; for the two peoples to live side by side in peace and harmony. We, therefore, call on the UN Secretary-General to vigorously pursue this formula in the interest of lasting peace,” he said.
Many Security Council resolutions since then, which have the force of international law, have warned that Jerusalem’s status is unresolved, that claims of sovereignty by Israel are invalid and that the issue must be settled in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The U.S. on Wednesday lifted aid sanctions on The Gambia over the ex-regime of then-dictator Yahya Jammeh’s human rights abuses and removed visa restrictions on government officials.
The American ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, called the vote “null and void,” declaring that “no vote in the United Nations will make any difference” on the United States’ plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, which she called “the right thing to do.”