2 January 2017

Senegal: UN Vote - Tough Talking Israel Recalls Diplomats, Cuts Aid to Senegal

Photo: Wikipedia
(File photo).

Senegal become the first country to incur Israel's wrath over the December 23 UN Security Council vote, after Tel Aviv announced it was cutting aid and cancelled a planned visit by Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye.

This marks the first diplomatic face-off between the two countries since they renewed relations three decades ago.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a series of diplomatic steps against the countries that co-sponsored the anti-Israeli resolution in the UN Security Council -- Senegal, New Zealand, Venezuela and Malaysia.

"Mr Netanyahu has also ordered the cancellation of the planned visit to Israel of the Senegalese foreign minister. He instructed the Foreign Ministry to cancel all aid programmes to Senegal and ordered the cancellation of visits in Israel of the non-resident ambassadors of Senegal and New Zealand," Israel's foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

On December 23, the 15-member United Nations Security Council voted 14 -0 (with the United States abstaining -- a break from the past where it would veto such resolutions) on condemning settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The resolution, which had been previously introduced by Egypt before it was withdrawn due to pressure from Israel, called for the latter to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, terming any Israeli construction over the agreed 1967 Green Line as illegal.

Senegalese government spokesman Seydou Gueye said in a statement that they are yet to receive official communication from Israel on the suspension of aid.

"Once we are informed on the aid suspension, we will respond accordingly. The international community hails Senegal's stance, especially the Muslim nations. Senegal abided by its diplomatic vision. Since 1975, Senegal has been a member of the (UN) Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," Mr Gueye said.

Senegal has always sided with Palestine in its conflicts with Israel with Senegal's UN Ambassador Fode Seck having been outspoken in the past about the Palestinians, supporting increased aid and international support. Mr Seck is the current chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Mr Netanyahu's administration has accused US of letting it down at the time of need.

"The (US President Barack) Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes. Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution," Mr Netanyahu said in a statement.

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