ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday the United States has isolated itself by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and accused it of threatening countries that might vote against it on the matter at an emergency U.N. General Assembly session.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose country has led Muslim opposition to Washington’s stance on Jerusalem, was speaking before leaving Istanbul with the Palestinian foreign minister to attend Thursday’s gathering in New York.
With his Dec. 6 decision, President Donald Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy, and upset an international consensus enshrined in U.N. resolutions, that treated Jerusalem’s status as unresolved. Israel captured East Jerusalem in a 1967 war and Palestinians want it as the capital of a future state they seek.
Trump’s move stirred outrage among Palestinians and in the Arab world, and concern among Washington’s Western allies.
On Monday, the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution calling on it to withdraw its declaration. Thel 14 other council members, including close U.S. allies such as Japan and four European Union countries, backed the draft.
“On Thursday there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Twitter. “The U.S. will be taking names.”
Cavusoglu said that was a threat, and called on Washington - a NATO ally of Turkey - to change course.
“We expect strong support at the UN vote, but we see that the United States, which was left alone, is now resorting to threats. No honorable, dignified country would bow down to this pressure,” Cavusoglu told a news conference held together with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki.
“We want America to turn back from this wrong and unacceptable decision,” Cavusoglu said earlier in the Azeri capital Baku, where he met Iranian and Azeri ministers.
“God willing, we will push through the General Assembly a resolution in favor of Palestine and Jerusalem,” he said.
The rare emergency session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly was called at the request of Arab and Muslim states.
Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour has said the General Assembly would vote on a draft resolution calling for the U.S. declaration to be withdrawn. Such a vote is non-binding, but carries political weight.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has lambasted Trump’s move, and hosted a summit of Muslim leaders last week which called for East Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital of Palestine. Israel calls Jerusalem its indivisible and eternal capital.
“From now on we will be more active in defending the rights of Palestinians. We will work harder for the international recognition of an independent Palestinian state,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Baku.
Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans and Mark Heinrich
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