Ireland and U.S. diverge at UN

Irish Ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne Nason


By Ray O’Hanlon

Ignoring warnings from the Trump administration of possible retaliation, Ireland voted with a majority of world nations to reject Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel and President Trump’s stated intention of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs had remained tight-lipped up to Thursday’s General Assembly vote on what is a non-binding resolution.

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Nevertheless, Ireland’s joining with 127 other nations opposing the U.S. move was consistent with the recent statement by Foreign Minister Simon Coveney supporting the long standing United Nations position that the status of Jerusalem should be decided in the context of an overall Middle East peace settlement.

The General Assembly vote – in what was billed as an emergency session - was 128-9, two of the latter tally being the U.S. and Israel.

The other seven were Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.

35 member nations abstained and 21 countries did not turn up to vote. There are 193 member nations in the General Assembly.

Representatives of several of the abstaining countries leveled criticism at the unilateral U.S. move.

Ireland was one of 22 of the European Union’s 28 member countries to vote with the majority.

President Donald Trump had warned ahead of the vote that the U.S. was "watching" and threatened reprisals against countries that back the measure.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, had warned of reprisals ahead of the vote, stating that "the United States will remember this day.”

"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," she told the UN General Assembly.

The warnings from the U.S. included threats to international aid.

It’s unclear as to whether the U.S. delegation communicated its warning to individual U.S. delegations, Ireland included.

Ireland’s ambassador to the United Nations is Geraldine Byrne Nason.

A former ambassador to France, Byrne Nason was appointed to the UN post over the summer.

France also voted with the majority in Thursday’s vote along with other close U.S. allies including the UK, Germany and Japan.