U.S. slashes U.N. budget after condemning Jerusalem vote

Rappler.com
In a historic move, the US will cut the UN's budget by more than $285 million

CONDEMNATION. Members of the Palestinian delegation clap after the vote on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Following a UN vote condemning the US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jersualem, the US announced a significant cut in the UN’s budget.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced the US government’s historic reduction of the UN 2018-2019 budget by over $285 million on Sunday, December 25, citing “inefficency and overspending.”

“We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked,” she said.

She also called the move “a big step in the right direction.” (READ: Why security in the Middle East matters to Southeast Asia)

The US is the UN’s largest contributor, funding 22% of its core budget.

Two weeks ago, the US sought a $250 million cut to the core budget of the UN for 2018-2019, on top of $200 million in savings already proposed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

But Haley’s announcement did not come until after the UN approved by a resounding vote on Thursday, December 21, a motion rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The 193-member General Assembly adopted the resolution by 128 to 9 with 35 abstentions, in what Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour called a “massive setback” for the US.

Speaking at the emergency session, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the US “will remember this day.”

“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem,” Haley said in defense of the US move, which broke with international consensus and unleashed protests across the Muslim world.

“No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that,” Haley said. “But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN.”

“When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our goodwill is recognized and respected,” she said.

The resolution reaffirms that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations, and that any decision reached outside of that framework must be rescinded. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com