The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly during a rare emergency meeting today to ask nations not to establish diplomatic missions in the historic city of Jerusalem, as delegates warned that the recent decision by the United States to do so risked igniting a religious war across the already turbulent Middle East and even beyond.
By a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 9 against (Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, United States), with 35 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the resolution Status of Jerusalem, by which it declared null and void any actions intended to alter Jerusalem's character, status or demographic composition. Calling on all States to refrain from establishing embassies in the Holy City, it also demanded that they comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions and work to reverse the negative trends imperilling a two State resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
We meet today not because of any animosity to the United States of America, insisted Riad Al Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine. Instead, the emergency session had been called to make the voice of the vast majority of the international community � and that of people around the world � heard on the question of Jerusalem/Al Quds Al Sharif. He described the 6 December decision by the United States to recognize the city as Israel's capital, and to move its embassy there, as an aggressive and dangerous move, cautioning that it could inflame tensions and lead to a religious war that has no boundaries.
He went on to state that the decision would have no impact on the Holy City's status, but it nevertheless compromised the role of the United States in the peace process. Moreover, it did nothing but serve the forces of extremism around the world, he said, pointing out that even the closest allies of the United States could not turn a blind eye to its actions. The Assembly was meeting in the wake of the Security Council's failure to adopt a similar draft resolution, even as 14 of its 15 members had voted in its favour. The veto will not stop us, he declared in that regard, underlining that Al Quds will not fall to any siege, monopolization or domination.
The representative of the United States, however, said she stood firmly behind the Administration's decision, declaring: America will put its embassy in Jerusalem. Its citizens would remember today's votes, including the countries that had disrespected the United States and singled it out, she warned. Pointing out her country's standing as by far the largest single contributor to the United Nations, she said its contributions were intended to advance its national values and interests, but when such an investment failed, the Government would be obliged to spend its resources in more productive ways.
Israel's representative, meanwhile, said one sided anti Israel resolutions had been pushing the Middle East peace process back for years. The Assembly remained in constant open session when it came to Israel, though the world was full of conflict, he noted, adding that the recent decision by the United States only declared what had always been true: Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the capital of the State of Israel. Today's vote, therefore, was nothing more than the performance of a delusion, and the text did absolutely nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.
At the meeting's outset, Yemen's representative presented the draft resolution in his capacity as Chair of the Arab Group and one of its two main co sponsors, the other being Turkey, current Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Describing the decision by the United States as a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, as well as those of all Christians and Muslims, he emphasized that it constituted a dangerous breach of the Charter of the United Nations and a serious threat to international peace and security, while also undermining the chances for a two State solution and fuelling the fires of violence and extremism.
Venezuela's delegate, speaking for the Non Aligned Movement, expressed grave concern about Israel's ongoing violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including attempts to alter the character, status and demographic composition of the City of Jerusalem. Also concerned about the decision to relocate the United States embassy, he warned that such provocative actions would further heighten tensions, with potentially far reaching repercussions given the extremely volatile backdrop.
Malaysia's representative echoed those sentiments, rejecting the Jerusalem decision as an infringement on the Palestinian people's rights. It had also caused dismay and frustration across the Muslim world, he added. Since the issue lay at the heart of the Palestinian cause, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital endorsed Israel's brutal occupation and repressive policies, he said. We are concerned that this dire situation will only feed into the agenda of the extremists and frustrate our collective efforts in our bigger objective of combating terrorism and ending the vicious cycle of violence.
Several delegates spoke in explanation of position, with Australia's representative explaining that she had abstained because although her country's Government did not support unilateral action that undermined the peace process, it did not believe today's text would help to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.
Canada's representative said he had abstained because the resolution was one sided and did not advance the prospects for peace.
Meanwhile, Paraguay's representative said he had abstained because his delegation's position was that the question of Jerusalem was a matter for the Security Council, as the primary body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Mexico's representative said he had also abstained, while emphasizing that convening an emergency session was a disproportionate response. The United States must become part of the solution, not a stumbling block that would hamper progress, he emphasized, noting that the international community was further than ever from agreement.
Also speaking were representatives of Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Maldives, Syria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Iran, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, South Africa, Estonia (on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), El Salvador, Argentina, Romania, Nicaragua, Czech Republic, Armenia, Hungary and Latvia, in addition to the Permanent Observer for the Holy See.
The General Assembly will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
KHALED HUSSEIN MOHAMED ALYEMANY (Yemen), introducing draft resolution A/ES 10/L.22, titled Status of Jerusalem, expressed regret at the decision by the United States to exercise the veto against the draft resolution that Egypt had submitted in the Security Council on behalf of the Arab Group. It was intended to protect the City of Jerusalem and block any attempt to change its historical character, he said, emphasizing that the United States decision of 6 December was considered null and void and would have no impact on the city's status. Furthermore, it was a blatant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, as well as all the world's Christians and Muslims. Describing the decision further as a dangerous breach of the Charter of the United Nations, he said it constituted a serious threat to peace and security in the region and the entire world. It also undermined any chances for a two State solution and fuelled the fires of violence and extremism, he said.
Stressing that Jerusalem was a vital part of the territory of Palestine, he called upon all States, including the United States, to refrain from measures contravening the historic status quo and from establishing diplomatic missions in the Holy City, as per Security Council resolutions. He strongly condemned all Israeli policies, practices and plans that were illegal and aimed at the annexation of East Jerusalem, rejecting all steps to change the Holy City's legal status. Commending the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, seeking to protect their rights in the face of aggression, he said Israel's occupation of Arab lands was the source of all tension in the Middle East and there would be no security in the region without a solution that would ensure the Palestinian people's legitimate rights to their own State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
As Chair of the Arab Group, and in cooperation with Turkey as Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he presented the draft resolution elaborating that any steps to alter the character, status or composition of the City of Jerusalem had no legal affect, were null and void and must be immediately rescinded.
RIAD AL MALKI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, said his delegation had called for today's emergency meeting to make the international community's voice heard on the question of Al Quds [Jerusalem]. The position shared by the vast majority of nations was embodied in the reactions of people around the world, he noted, recalling that a draft resolution that would have declared any action to change the city's character to be null and void had been vetoed in the Security Council earlier this week, despite having received support from 14 of that organ's 15 members. The General Assembly now has the right to take up this issue, he said, pointing out that there was an international consensus on the dangerous nature of the 6 December decision by the United States to recognize Al Quds as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.
We meet today not because of any animosity to the United States of America, he said, explaining that it was because of the aggression reflected by its recent decision. It would not impact the status of the Holy City whatsoever, but would instead impact the role of the United States itself in the peace process, he cautioned. Expressing regret that his delegation's warnings that such actions could inflame religious tensions had gone unheeded, he further warned that the decision could lead to a religious war that has no boundaries. Indeed, the decision did nothing but serve the forces of extremism around the world, and no credible voice seeking peace could ever support it, he said, pointing out that even the closest allies of the United States could not turn a blind eye to its actions. Al Quds was a holy and historic city that will not fall to any siege, monopolization or domination, he declared.
Today was an opportunity for the United States to join the international community in helping to prevent the escalation of conflict, he continued. While the State of Palestine respected the sovereignty of all States, it refused to have that principle used as an excuse to deny Palestinians their rights. We stand today united for justice, he declared, stressing the veto will not stop us. The State of Palestine would not accept any justification � security, religious or otherwise � to excuse Israel's continued occupation, he said, underlining that the United Nations was today undergoing an unprecedented test with Palestine as its headline. Citing the unity of many of the Organization's organs � including the Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice and others � on the question of Jerusalem, he stressed: History records names, and remembers names, including those standing up for what was right, and those speaking falsehoods.
While Palestinians had never wavered in their support of peace, colonialism and peace could not coexist, he said, emphasizing that there could not be peace for just one side. Warning Member States not to use the excuse of supporting dialogue to avoid their responsibilities under international law, he urged them to hold accountable those who committed violations, recognize the State of Palestine and help provide both security and dignity to its people. He cited recent examples of the barbarism of the Israeli regime, saying they included attacks against Palestinian civilians and children. As the world prepared to celebrate Christmas, the lights will not be lit in the land of Christ, he added. Al Quds would remain dark in affirmation of the Palestinian people's unity around their cause. By voting in favour of the draft resolution, Member States would be standing up for justice and rejecting attempts at blackmail and intimidation, he said. Those who want peace must vote for peace today.
MEVLAT CAVUSOGLU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, described the vote as an important reminder that Palestinians � subjected to systematic violence and discrimination for generations � were not alone. The only hope for a just and lasting peace in the region was a Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, he said. However, the recent decision by a Member State to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital violated international law and was an outrageous assault on universal values, he emphasized. He recalled that the 13 December Summit of OIC had unanimously rejected that decision and declared East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine. Since Jerusalem was the holy city of three monotheistic religions, it was the responsibility of all to preserve its historic status, he said, recalling that a Member State had threatened others before the meeting to vote no or face the consequences. The Assembly would not bow to such bullying, he declared, underlining that it was unethical to think that the votes and dignity of Member States were for sale. A vote in favour of the Palestinian people would place Member States on the right side of history.
NIKKI R. HALEY (United States) said the United Nations had long been a hostile place for Israel, which undermined the Organization's credibility and was harmful for the entire world. Israel must not only stand up for its own survival, but also for the ideals of freedom and human dignity, which was what the United Nations was supposed to be about, she said, adding that being forced to defend her country's sovereignty had brought many of the same thoughts to her mind. Pointing out that the United States was by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations, which it did in order to advance its values and interests, she said that together they had made tremendous advances in a wide range of areas. The United States was demonstrating the American way when it provided generous contributions to the United Nations, yet it also had the legitimate expectation that its efforts would garner the world's goodwill and respect, she said, adding that it was being asked to pay for the dubious privilege of being disrespected. Emphasizing that the Government of the United States was held accountable by its people, she said it had the obligation to ask for more for its investment, and when that investment failed, it also had the obligation to spend in more productive ways.
The United States had already made its decision in accordance with United States law dating back to 1995, she continued, adding that it had been repeatedly endorsed by its people. The decision did not preclude any final status issues, including the status or boundaries of Jerusalem, nor did it preclude a two State solution or harm peace efforts. Rather, the decision reflected the will of the American people and the right of the United States to move its embassy where it saw fit. There is no need to describe it further. She said her delegation would remember the day it was singled out and attacked in the General Assembly for exercising its right to act as a sovereign nation. It would remember that day when it was asked to make the single largest contribution to the United Nations, or when it was called upon to use its influence. America will put its embassy in Jerusalem, she said, emphasizing: It was what the American people wanted the Government to do. The way in which Americans viewed the United Nations and the way in which countries had disrespected the United States with today's vote would be remembered, she vowed.
DANNY DANON (Israel) said the one sided steps by the Palestinians and the United Nations had pushed peace away for years. With every anti Israel resolution, with every attack on the Israeli people, the United Nations had perfected its double standard. Despite living in a world full of conflict and war, only when it came to Israel did the Assembly remain in constant open session, he said. The United States had only declared what had always been true, he continued, emphasizing: Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the capital of the State of Israel. The vote was nothing more than the performance of a delusion, and the draft resolution did absolutely nothing for the lives of the Palestinian people, he said, describing it as nothing more than a distraction.
He went on to state that Israel knew Jerusalem was sacred to billions around the world and encouraged everyone to visit and pray in the Holy City. There was a particular irony in the draft resolution in that its co sponsors accused Israel and the United States of violating international law, yet it was in those countries where terrorist groups found fertile ground. The United Nations preached human rights and peace, but when it came to Israel, Member States completely ignored the horrific acts of terror that threatened Israeli citizens. Violence and terror must never be tolerated, he stressed, adding that if the United Nations was really united for peace, it would pass a resolution condemning Palestinian violence. On the contrary, today's draft resolution encouraged more violence and instability, he said, warning that it sanctioned Palestinians to continue on a dangerous path.
SAMUEL MONCADA ACOSTA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, expressed grave concern about the ongoing violations perpetrated by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including attempts aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the City of Jerusalem. Expressing further grave concern about the declared intentions and plans announced by the President of the United States to transfer his country's embassy to Jerusalem, and any other related action that would further consolidate Israel's control and unlawful de facto annexation of the city, he warned that such provocative actions, in disrespect of Security Council resolutions, would further heighten tensions, with potentially far reaching repercussions. In that regard, he called for a halt to all violations and provocations by the Government of the United States, recalling the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter, including the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force.
He went on to caution that, against the backdrop of an extremely volatile situation and with diminishing prospects for a just peace, such unlawful actions in Jerusalem could seriously destabilize the fragile situation on the ground. The Security Council underlined in its resolution 2334 (2016) that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations, he noted. It also called on all parties to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace. The Non Aligned Movement reaffirmed the commitment of its member States to the realization of a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the question of Palestine in all aspects and in accordance with international law, he stressed.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said the unilateral actions of one country were set to undo decades of work by the international community and to defy international law. Pakistan rejected the decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate its embassy to the Holy City in contravention of several provisions of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, she declared. Member States must recommit to thwarting any attempts to violate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the ultimate goal of a two State solution. Expressing unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, she said it was a key pillar of Pakistan's foreign policy, recalling that her country had led and sponsored the Assembly's first ever resolution on Jerusalem. In that regard, Pakistan was proud to join the international community once again in adopting a landmark draft resolution to reject the revisionist decision of the United States.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) described the decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital as unacceptable and in violation of a number of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Recalling that Security Council resolution 478 (1980) called upon States to withdraw diplomatic missions from the Holy City, he said that text would remain valid until peace was attained for the Palestinians. Any attempts to change the character and status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, were in flagrant violation of international law, constituting a major obstacle to comprehensive peace and the realization of a two State solution, he said, underlining Indonesia's unwavering support for the Palestinian cause.
ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives) said the current international system, which had emerged with the founding of the United Nations, was based on international law and every Member State, including Israel, was bound to respect and implement resolutions of the Security Council in good faith. By adopting today's draft, the international community would send a clear message to Israel and the handful of countries supporting its illegal actions, he said. Emphasizing that Jerusalem's final status could only be decided through a negotiated settlement, he appealed to Israel to withdraw from its illegal occupation of Palestine, stressing that the centre of gravity in international politics was shifting towards the rule of law, and no Power was too great to ignore that reality.
MOUNZER MOUNZER (Syria), condemning the decision to transfer the United States embassy to the occupied city of Al Quds and to recognize it as Israel's capital, said it constituted a flagrant violation of the city's special status and yet another demonstration of colonial crimes committed against Palestine. The decision was unilateral in nature and had no impact on the city's legal status, he said, underlining that the United States had never, and would never, stand as a neutral party in the Middle East peace process. Condemning that country's use of the veto in the Security Council, he pledged that his delegation would never renounce its unwavering support for the rights of Christians, Palestinians and Muslims in the city of Al Quds. Indeed, Syria stood firmly for the right of the Palestinians to self determination and to an independent State with Al Quds as its capital, as well as their right of return and their right to stand as a full Member State of the United Nations. Calling upon the United States to respect all resolutions of the Assembly and the Security Council on the matter, he said that country's arrogance had now risen to the level of directly threatening Member States, declaring: This is a superpower which views the United Nations as a national institution, adding that it treated other Member States like schoolchildren.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement and OIC, reaffirmed his country's position on East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent and viable State of Palestine. Bangladesh was concerned about any decision or announcement that could compromise East Jerusalem's status as a final status issue in the Middle East peace process, change its historical and legal status, or alter its demographic structure and historic Arab Islamic character, he said. It was also concerned about possible grave consequences and threats to international peace and security that could result from such an inflammation of tensions. Urging all sides to take a pragmatic approach to the peace process by negotiating a two State solution with the aim of bringing about lasting peace and stability in the region, he said Bangladesh supported all efforts to resolve protracted conflicts, especially against the backdrop of its own efforts to deal with the massive, ongoing influx of forcibly displaced persons from neighbouring Myanmar's Rakhine State.
ANAYANSI RODRA�GUEZ CAMEJO (Cuba), associating herself with the Non Aligned Movement and voicing support for the statements delivered on behalf of OIC and the Arab Group, said her delegation had made its position clear in its 6 December declaration on the recognition by the United States of the City of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Quoting from that document, she said: Cuba expresses its deepest concern and rejection of the [United States] President's unilateral declaration on the City of Jerusalem  which is a serious and flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, of international law and of the relevant UN resolutions. Warning that the decision would have serious consequences for stability and security in the Middle East, she called upon the Security Council to fulfil its Charter responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, including by demanding that Israel immediately end its occupation. Cuba would continue to support a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict on the basis of a two State solution, as well as the right of the Palestinians to self determination and to an independent, sovereign State with its capital in East Jerusalem and within the pre 1967 borders, she stressed.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran) said that the United States had been aiding and abetting the Israeli regime by according it unconditional support and defending it by any means necessary. The United States had misused its veto power in the Security Council to shield the regime against the will of the international community, and its recent illegal decision made it clear that the United States sought only to secure the Israeli regime's interests and did not respect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self determination. The Israeli occupation lay at the centre of all crises and conflicts in the Middle East and beyond, a fact long acknowledged by the United Nations, he said. He strongly condemned the reckless, unilateral attempt by the United States to distort the historical facts and replace them with fiction. That country's Administration had done little to hide its intentions to shift the Security Council's focus from the question of Palestine to fabricated alternative issues in the region in order to give the Israeli regime more space to freely pursue its criminal practices.
SHEN BO (China), highlighting the Palestinian question's position at the core of Middle East issues, said it had a profound impact on peace efforts in the region. In that context, the situation of Jerusalem had particular complexities. Calling upon the international community to remain united in the joint pursuit of peace and to facilitate de escalation of the situation for the greater good of stability and tranquillity, he said a two State solution was the right path to a political settlement of the Palestinian question. China firmly supported the Middle East peace process and the rights of the Palestinian people, including a fully sovereign State of Palestine, he declared, emphasizing that his delegation's position would never change. China would continue to play a constructive role in the quest for a political solution to the question of Palestine.
M. SHAHRUL IKRAM YAAKOB (Malaysia), associating himself with OIC and the Non Aligned Movement, said his country also joined the international community in expressing its deep concern over, and rejection of, the 6 December decision of the United States on Jerusalem. Such a move undermines efforts towards finding a comprehensive, just and durable solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict, he emphasized, noting that it had caused dismay and frustration across the Muslim world. The decision infringed on the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self determination, and contravened Security Council resolutions. Since Al Quds was at the heart of the Palestinian cause, recognizing it as Israel's capital served to endorse Israel's brutal occupation and repressive policies, he pointed out. We are concerned that this dire situation will only feed into the agenda of the extremists and frustrate our collective efforts in our bigger objective of combating terrorism and ending the vicious cycle of violence, he stressed.
JA SONG NAM (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) recalled that, during the seventieth summit of the Non Aligned Movement, its members had committed to supporting the interests of developing countries on issues relating to international peace and security, and to strengthening multilateralism through various United Nations instruments. In that vein, the Security Council had adopted a resolution in 2016 that demanded Israel end its illegal settlement activities on Palestinian land. The recent decision on Jerusalem was an insult to the unanimous will of the international community, he said, stressing that the Middle East conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue between the parties. Condemning that decision as reckless and high handed, he urged the United States to pay greater attention to international efforts to resolve the conflict, in accordance with international law and in conformity with Security Council resolutions. Concluding, he expressed his delegation's support for the Palestinian people and their efforts to establish an independent, sovereign State with Al Quds as its capital.
WOUTER HOFMEYR ZAAYMAN (South Africa) expressed his delegation's deep concern that unilateral action by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital undermined the progress made within the context of the Middle East peace process. The decision by the Government of the United States was regrettable and not constructive in advancing sustainable peace in the region. The Government of South Africa remained in favour of a two State solution for Palestine and Israel, based on international recognition and independence of a State of Palestine, he said, appealing to the United States Administration to reconsider its decision to relocate its embassy, which compromised and undermined the principles of a two State solution based on peaceful coexistence between the peoples of Israel and Palestine.
TOMASZ GRYSA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, emphasized that Jerusalem was most sacred to the three monotheistic religions and a symbol for millions of believers around the world who considered it their spiritual capital. The Holy City's significance went beyond the question of borders, a reality that should be considered a priority in every negotiation for a political solution. The Holy See called for a peaceful resolution that would ensure respect for the sacred nature of Jerusalem and its universal value, he said, reiterating that only international guarantee could preserve its unique character and status, and provide assurance of dialogue and reconciliation for peace in the region.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 9 against (Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, United States), with 35 abstentions.
Explanation of Position
The representative of Estonia spoke on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Reiterating their firm commitment to a two State solution as well as their unchanged position on East Jerusalem, she said they would continue to respect the international consensus embodied in Security Council resolution 478 (1980) until Jerusalem's final status was resolved. Furthermore, the status quo around the Temple Mount must be upheld in full respect for previous understandings and for Jordan's special role. A negotiated two State solution was the only realistic way to realize the peace that both Israelis and Palestinians deserved.
The representative of Australia said that while her country's Government did not support unilateral action that undermined the peace process, it did not believe the resolution would help to bring the parties back to the negotiating table. For that reason, Australia had abstained from the vote, but hoped nevertheless that Israel and the Palestinians would return to the talks as soon as possible.
The representative of Paraguay said his delegation had abstained because the matter was still before the Security Council, which was responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Furthermore, the issue should be resolved directly by both parties.
The representative of El Salvador reiterated his support for a negotiated two State solution with full respect for all Security Council resolutions. However, he expressed regret that drafts were being tabled without enough time for discussion, adding that, as such, his delegation had abstained to demonstrate its unhappiness with the procedure around the draft.
The representative of Argentina said he had abstained because the draft would not help to resolve the conflict between the parties, emphasizing that the abstention did not imply a change in his delegation's view of the situation. Argentina supported all attempts to bring about peace in the Middle East, he said, urging the international community to make a joint effort to uphold a two State solution, as per the Arab Peace Initiative and the road map of the Middle East Quartet.
The representative of Romania said his delegation's position concerning the status of Jerusalem was in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly. Calling for calm, he encouraged the parties to resume dialogue so as to move the peace process forward, stressing that the time had come to renew international efforts to relaunch the peace process.
The representative of Canada said he had opted to abstain because the draft resolution was one sided and did not advance the prospects for peace. Emphasizing the importance of Jerusalem, he condemned the violence and terrorism of the past weeks.
The representative of Nicaragua said he had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it rebuffed recent unilateral attempts to modify the character and status of Jerusalem. Such unilateral actions were in blatant violation of resolution 2234 (2016) and others, he said, stressing that unilateral actions jeopardized peace and stability in the Middle East and drew the international community further away from a solution.
The representative of Mexico said he had abstained. Noting that the international community was further from agreement today than ever before, he said it was disproportionate to convene an emergency session of the General Assembly. The United States must be part of the solution and not an additional stumbling block hampering progress. Mexico would keep its embassy in Tel Aviv, he underlined.
The representative of the Czech Republic said that while his delegation supported the European Union position, it had nevertheless abstained because it did not believe the draft resolution would contribute to the peace process.
The representative of Armenia said his country's position remained unchanged. The situation should be resolved through negotiations paving the way for lasting peace and security.
The representative of Hungary said her delegation did not comment on the foreign policy decisions of the United States and its position on the issue remained unchanged.
The representative of Latvia said his delegation's position remained unchanged. Jerusalem's status must be negotiated through direct talks, and the city must become the capital of both Israel and a future State of Palestine. Latvia had abstained because it was important not to escalate the political and security situation in the region.
The representative of Estonia took the floor a second time to clarify that she had delivered her statement also on behalf of Albania, Lithuania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Source: United Nations