United States (US) President Donald Trump's threat to cut off funding to countries that oppose his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital has raised the stakes in Thursday's United Nations' (UN) vote and sparked criticism at his tactics, which one Muslim group called bullying or blackmail.
Trump went a step further than US Ambassador Nikki Haley who hinted in a tweet and a letter to most of the 193 UN member states on Tuesday that the US would retaliate against countries that vote in favour of a General Assembly resolution calling on the president to rescind his decision.
Haley says the president asked her to report back on countries “who voted against us” and she stressed that the US “will be taking names".
'Threats' from Washington
Trump's December 6 decision to recognise Jerusalem broke with international consensus, triggering protests across the Muslim world and drawing strong condemnation.
Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favour of the measure and were expected to do the same on Thursday at the assembly.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki accused Washington of “threatening” member-states, saying it was “another mistake” following the US veto at the Security Council.
Malki said the UN session would show “how many countries will opt to vote with their conscience”.
Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that Jerusalem is an “issue that must be resolved through negotiations”.
“They will vote for justice and they will vote in favour of that resolution that was presented by both Yemen and Turkey on behalf of the Arab group and OIC,” Malki said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to lead Islamic condemnation of Trump's Jerusalem plan, calling a summit of the leaders of Muslim nations last week in Istanbul, who urged the world to recognise East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after the 1967 war, in a move never recognised by the international community.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country expected “strong support” for the Palestinian Authority in the UN General Assembly.
“Everyone with a conscience... is against this decision that usurped Palestine's rights,” he said.
The foreign minister said any honourable country would not bow to US pressure, urging Washington to reverse its mistake.
“God willing, I believe we will obtain a good result tomorrow (Thursday),” he added.