U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut foreign aid to UN members who voted against his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.
He welcomed a statement by US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who said that America would be “taking names” of countries that voted to oppose his decision.
During a cabinet meeting, the US president said that those countries “take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
He also claimed that US officials have no idea how foreign countries spend the money America allocates to them.
President Trump added: “This isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you, and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing. So Nikki that was the right message that you and I agreed to be sent yesterday.”
The US has previously used its power of veto to block a resolution in the Security Council that called for the president to overturn the decision.
Trump’s announcement on Wednesday 6 December caused worldwide controversy, as Jerusalem has never been internationally recognised as Israel’s capital.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May asked for a phone call with President Trump to criticise the decision, but had to wait for 13 days until she was finally able to speak with him.
This month demonstrations broke out in the occupied Palestinian territories, where clashes have repeatedly occurred between protesters and occupying Israeli troops.