U.S. President Donald Trump listens as South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a statement from the Rose Garden after meetings at the White House - Reuters
CAIRO – 25 December 2017: A major reduction in the United Nation’s budget up to $285 million was announced by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on December 24.
The statement said that the budget for the 2018 -2019 fiscal year has been negotiated at a reduction of $285 million from the 2016 -2017 financial budget.
“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked. This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we will continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests,” said Ambassador Haley.
The US currently provides about 22 percent of the annual budget, or about $3.3 billion per year, according to PolitiFact.
This move comes after U.S. president Donald Trump threatened to cut aid from countries that voted against the United States’ decision regarding Jerusalem in the Security Council on December 18 and the General Assembly on December 21.
He said in statements to reporters at the white house that he is watching all the countries that vote against him after taking millions and even billions of dollars.
“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations, all of these nations take our money and then vote against us at the Security Council or at the assembly. They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then vote against us...well, we are watching those votes. Let them vote against us; we will save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump stated.
He added that the good Americans are tired of being taken advantage of, “well, we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
On December 18, the Washington Post stated that Nikki Haley’s and Trump’s choice at the Security Council to veto the Egyptian resolution, facing another fourteen countries “underscores the U.S. isolation on the issue”.
Although the resolution issued by Egypt did not directly name U.S. President Donald Trump or the U.S. government, it affirmed that any decisions and actions aiming to change Jerusalem’s identity should be considered null and void.
Haley also threatened during her speech at the Security Council December 18 that she will use veto power during the voting to defend her country’s sovereignty and the peace process in the Middle East.
“The fact that this veto is being done in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council,” Haley stated.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the U.S. veto of Egypt's draft resolution over Jerusalem on Monday. He added in a statement following the vote that the U.S. decision is considered disrespectful to the international community.
"The United States chooses not to be an honest mediator in the peace process," Abbas said, stressing that he is willing to demand full membership in the United Nations.
Israel was the only country that praised the U.S. decision. “Thank you, Ambassador Haley. On Hanukkah, you spoke like a Maccabi. You lit a candle of truth. You dispel the darkness. One defeated the many. Truth defeated lies. Thank you, President Trump. Thank you, Nikki Haley,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account.
Later on December 21, the General Assembly voted on a resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, about 128 countries voted for the draft resolution and nine countries voted against, while 35 abstained from voting on the draft.
The countries that voted against the resolution were the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and Palau.
In her speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Haley said, “America will put its embassy in Jerusalem.” She then added, “No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference to how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries (that) disrespect us in the U.N. and this vote will be remembered.”
In a televised speech from the White House on December 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "Through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have refused to acknowledge Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Today, we acknowledge that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital. It is the right thing to do. It is something that has to be done," Trump stated.