The Latest: Turk, Palestinian FMs accuse US of intimidation
Dec. 20, 2017
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on developments related to the U.S. recognition of the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital (all times local):
The Turkish and Palestinian foreign ministers are accusing the United States of intimidation after its ambassador to the United Nations warned countries that the U.S. "will be taking names" during a U.N. General Assembly vote.
The vote Thursday will be on a resolution rejecting President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu said they believed U.N. member countries would ignore "pressure" from ambassador Nikki Haley and vote with their consciences on the non-binding resolution.
Al-Maliki said: "Tomorrow we will see how many countries will opt to vote (with) their consciousness, they will vote for justice and they will vote in favor of that resolution."
Cavusoglu said: "The world has changed. The belief that 'I am strong therefore I am right' has changed. The world today is revolting against injustices."
"No honorable state would bow to such pressure," he added.
The two ministers are traveling to New York together to attend Thursday's vote.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman and his heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, following a U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
His visit to Riyadh on Wednesday comes one week after heads of state from Muslim countries met in Turkey to reject and denounce President Donald Trump's decision. Saudi Arabia and some of its allies were notably absent from that summit amid reports that the kingdom is privately pressuring Abbas to relinquish Palestinian claims over east Jerusalem in exchange for continued U.S. pressure against Saudi rival, Iran.
Also, the U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote after the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have required the Trump administration to rescind its Jerusalem decision.
The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land says the status of Jerusalem should not be altered by "unilateral decisions," amid protests over the U.S. recognition of the contested city as Israel's capital.
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa said in a statement Wednesday that "unilateral decisions will not bring peace, but rather will distance it. Jerusalem is a treasure of all humanity. Any exclusive claim — be it political or religious — is contrary to the city's own logic."
President Donald Trump's declaration earlier this month departed from decades of U.S. policy that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations.
The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, which includes sites holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews, as the capital of their future state. Israel claims the whole city as its capital.