Last Updated on Thursday, 21 December 2017, 17:50 by Denis Chabrol
Guyana was Thursday among seven member-nations of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) that defied the United States’ (US) recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), despite threats by American President, Donald Trump to cut aid to opponents.
Guyana voted along with Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to support the resolution by an overall vote of 128 (yes), nine (no) and 25 (abstentions).
The resolution, which was drafted by Yemen and Turkey, demanded of the US to rescind its December 6 declaration on Jerusalem, the contested holy city, as Israel’s capital.
However, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago abstained. No vote was cast by St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.
The United Kingdom, with which Guyana and all English-speaking Caribbean nations have historical ties, also voted in favour of the resolution.
Canada abstained. Venezuela voted ‘yes’.
Other nations with which Guyana enjoys very good diplomatic relations that voted to support the resolution were Brazil, China and India.
The non-binding vote came against the background of Trump indicating very strongly that aid to countries that voted against his stance on Jerusalem could see a reduction in aid flows. “All of these nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council or they vote against us, potentially, at the Assembly, they take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday. “Well, we’re watching those votes,” he said. “Let them vote against us; we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” he was quoted by the New York Times as saying.
Moments before the vote, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley echoed Trump’s position, suggesting that nations that vote against the US would not receive American funding and support. “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she said.
The Trump administration’s position is in contrast to many UN Security Council resolutions that have stated Jerusalem’s status remains unresolved, that Israel’s claims of sovereignty must be settled in talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
President Trump announced earlier this month that the US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, marking an end to an estimated 70-year old American foreign policy position and the commencement of plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.