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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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On a roster that could be described as the courageous, the circumspect and the craven, eleven Caribbean countries supported a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that criticized President Donald Trump's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, despite US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley's threatening letter to General Assembly members not to support the resolution and that Trump "will be watching [Thursday's] vote carefully" and "requested I report back on those who voted against us�"

On Thursday, the UNGA overwhelmingly rejected the Trump administration's decision to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. By a 128-9 vote, the representatives of the member countries gathered at UN headquarters in New York City ignored US objections and approved a nonbinding resolution calling on countries to avoid moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

Among the countries that voted in favour of the resolution are many traditional US allies, including the United Kingdom and France (and Belize).

Thirty-five countries abstained, including nine regional countries, with two others - Saint Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis being strategically absent.

Two regional countries joined Israel and the US, along with five other countries, in voting against the measure.

Earlier in the day, before the assembly voted on the largely symbolic declaration, Haley reiterated her resistance in no uncertain terms.

"The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation," Haley said on Thursday.

"We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit," she added.

Trump announced earlier this month his administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and begin the process of moving the US embassy to the disputed city. The move bucked decades of US diplomatic policy and immediately set off a widespread backlash in countries around the world, who believe it would significantly undermine the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, who also claim Jerusalem as the capital of a prospective state.

The Courageous

Costa Rica
St Vincent and the Grenadines

The Circumspect

Antigua and Barbuda
Dominican Republic
Trinidad and Tobago

The Craven


The Conveniently Absent

Saint Lucia
St Kitts and Nevis

Caribbean News Now

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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Why Belize Did Not Stand With Trump, Despite Threats

So, as you heard in Ambassador Nikki Haley's speech to the UN General Assembly, the United States appears to interpret the actions of those countries which supported the vote as an "attack".

Belize supported the vote, and so today, we sought out Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington for comment on the possible negative consequences of that decision.

In his interview with us, Elrington read from the letter that Ambassador Lois Young sent to US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, in response to her letter stating that President Trump was watching how each nation votes. Here's what Belize wrote to the US:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Belize does not question the bonafide or sovereign right of the United States' position in choosing to activate a law passed by the US Congress. Belize is 0of the view that the US's declaration recognized in Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will as a matter of fact caused irreversible damage to any peace negotiations going forward."

"Historically, these had been premise on a two states solution Israel and Palestine with the status of Jerusalem left as a final matter for determination. Importantly for the past 15 years no less a body than the United Nations Security Council has affirm a vision of a region where 2 states: Israel and Palestine live side by side together, side by side within secure and recognized borders."

"The international community in consistently reaffirming the 2 state solution has emphasized that the status of Jerusalem is a final status issue to be negotiated by the parties. This position has been reaffirm various agreements including the Camp David Accords, the Oslo accords and the roadmap for peace proposed by the middle east all of which include the Unites States as a key interlockiter. Accordingly when Belize voices tomorrow, that is the vote, accordingly when Belize votes tomorrow that is Thursday December 21, 2017 we will vote in accordance with our conscience and international law."

"Belize has always consider United States as a friend and a good country. We like to think these sentiments are reciprocated. Belize's vote on this particular issue should therefore not be seen as a vote against United States, but merely as showing respect for international law and states sovereignty."

So, from there, we asked the Foreign Affairs Minister if the Government is bracing for a shift of relations with the US. Very often on this newscast, we show you major financial donations that the US Government makes to Belizean law enforcement for regional security initiatives. So, we wondered whether those may be at risk of being cut, and when he asked the Foreign Minister about it, he said that he doesn't think that will happen. Here's how he explained it:

Daniel Ortiz
"Is it a concern for you that maybe those in Washington may interpret that way that Belize took that sort of adversarial stance against the US?"

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"I think the prevailing view is that the position at the United Nations that was taken by the general assembly was the correct one and that there is a possibility that there is going to be some negative fallout from it. But that is the price that countries who believe that they have a principle position and must maintain a principle position have to be prepared to take."

"It's not all the time that you are faced with these kinds of difficult situation, because the perception could be that you are voting against the interest of the United States. But that is not the case at all. That is not the intention. That is not the desire, but we believe that we have got to be consistent and be respectful of international law."

"The position we always take is that where you have disputed territory, we think that one should hold ones position one way or the other until the matter is resolved by some tribunal that is internationally accepted. That is the position we take with respect to Palestine and Israel. That is the position we take with Belize and Guatemala. We believe that we should not make any pronouncement on the matter one way or the other until internationally accepted, tribunal makes a final pronouncement on it."

Daniel Ortiz
"President Donald Trump, even in his own country is a controversial figure. Is it a concern for you as foreign minister that whenever Belize has to take a principle position against any of the policies that he rose out, there may be concern that there is negative fallout because of that for Belize?"

Hon. Wilfred Elrington
"Belize is a very tiny country. It is not one that is really in the radar of the United States and notwithstanding the pronouncement of presidents of the United States. Unites States is a huge country which have different systems and those systems work notwithstanding pronouncement made their presidents. So what the president says is nor necessary the final decision and that is not necessary converted into policy, so that because we are so tiny and because of the nature of the system that operates in United States."

Only 9 nations sided with the US and voted against against the UN resolution yesterday, while 35 abstained. Interestingly, Belize's neighbors Guatemala and Honduras were two of those supporting the US by voting against the resolution. Mexico abstained.

The UN Vote Against The US, Play-By-Play

Last night, we told you how 128 countries, including Belize, passed a resolution in the United States General Assembly rebuking US President Donald Trump. The resolution calls for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Now, for those viewers who are unaware, Jerusalem remains the flashpoint of a territorial dispute between Israel and Palestine. Both nations claim that holy city as their capital. To keep the peace, the UN has been supporting what is called the "Two-State" solution, where Jerusalem is divided between them.

As a mark of respect for the very fragile state of affairs, nations have placed their ISRAELI embassies in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

But, earlier this month, President Trump upended decades of US and international diplomacy, when he recognized all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and he told the US state department to start work on moving the US embassy there.

So, that's the context of yesterday's vote, 128 nations voted for a non-binding resolution declaring U.S. action on Jerusalem "null and void".

Before the vote, Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN sent out letters to her fellow ambassadors saying, quote, "I want you to know that the President and US take this vote personally� The President will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue."

Even with the less than thinly veiled threat that US financial aid may be cut to the nations who support the resolution, 128 countries including, Belize, still voted in favor of it. We've put together a few video clips to put the resolution into perspective:

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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No expected change in Belize/U.S relations despite UN vote says Sedi

Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington said this week that he doesn't foresee Belize's vote at the United Nations negatively impacting the country's relationship with the United States.

On Thursday Belize was one of the 128 UN member countries that voted to render the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city "null and void". Elrington told the media this week that Belize's vote was not one in the spirit of being antagonistic to the US but rather one of respecting international law.

Elrington added that given Belize's small size it is unlikely that the US would carry out any actions retaliatory because of the vote. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley had said that President Donald Trump would be monitoring which countries voted against the US decision and would cut aid to those countries.

International media quoted Trump saying, "They 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."

The issue began earlier this month when Trump decided to acknowledge Jerusalem, in its entirety as Israel's capital city, despite an ongoing territorial dispute with Palestine. The consensus of the UN members was that Trump's decision would undo years of peace negotiation efforts between the two nations.

The Reporter

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
Not sure I can call our vote defying, when we voted with most other nations. The US would have known in advance how Belize would vote, considering the complicated relationship with Guatemala-Israel and Belize. No harm. No fault. So we don't get invited to the party of tiny nations with foreign aid needs who voted how the US instructed. Non issue for us

Belize based travel specialist
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Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 54
What's President "Little Hands" going to do, send the US Ambassador to Belize to the PM's office with threats....oh, wait, President "Narcissism" hasn't even nominated a candidate for Ambassador to Belize, 11 months into his term....nevermind! Nothing to fear here, except hot air and hollow threats.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,537
No hollow threats; today Nikki Haley announced a $ 285 million cut in donations to the UN, saying that the "inefficiency and overspending" of the organization is well-known, and she would not let "the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of."

Despite the non-binding resolution on Jerusalem, the General Assembly was a success for the US:
Originally Posted by Bloomberg
The U.S. Just Had a Very Good Week at the UN
That Jerusalem vote was a sideshow. Meanwhile, the American ambassador got some real work done.

1. Let's start with the meaningful 15-0 vote on Friday to impose new sanctions on North Korea. The U.S. persuaded China, North Korea's primary patron, and Russia, another key trading partner to the Hermit Kingdom, to go along with the resolution -- no small feat. The new sanctions cap oil exports to North Korea at current levels and demand countries expel North Korean foreign workers. The sanctions could be tougher, but diplomacy is a give and take.

2. On Thursday, the same day of the General Assembly vote, the UN Security Council quietly passed resolution 2396, 15-0, urging all member states to better screen for foreign fighters returning from Syria, imposing new checks on fake passports and requiring member states to notify other countries when such fighters are detained or prosecuted.

3. Finally, Haley won a personal diplomatic victory on Iran. This week German government spokesman Steffen Seibert acknowledged a recent UN report on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal that compiled evidence of Iranian missile transfers to Houthi rebels in Yemen. � Iran is violating the restrictions on the transfer of arms and ballistic missiles imposed on it,"Seibert said."

Live and let live
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,537
Looks like Guatemala is going to be best friends with the US and that's not such good news for us as they still claim part or all of Belize. Not only did Guatemala vote against the resolution that criticized the decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Now they are going to move their embassy to Jerusalem too:

The aid Guatemala receives from the US is significant more than Belize: last year they received 297 million and for this year it looks like it's going to be 200. Belize in comparison received 8.6 million last year and this year it went down to 1.9 million (not much to loose there anymore):

Live and let live
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
Just a point of clarification, Short. The US is not cutting its donations to the UN. It negotiated a cut in the UN's budget which even the Secretary General of the UN was in favor of.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,537
Thanks for setting me straight bywarren, that makes sense. I had read two articles, one with accusations and the one I linked to, as I thought that one to be more credible. Thought something was off, but still made the post.

Live and let live
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,000
Originally Posted by BradAndLorrie
What's President "Little Hands" going to do, send the US Ambassador to Belize to the PM's office with threats....oh, wait, President "Narcissism" hasn't even nominated a candidate for Ambassador to Belize, 11 months into his term....nevermind! Nothing to fear here, except hot air and hollow threats.

Yes nothing to fear I believe unlike President "Big Ears" who raised havoc with the Belize Banking system which has caused so many expats real hardship with their banking needs and threatened shutting off USD and credit card exchange with the country.

Formerly from somewhere on a beach in Belize
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