Jonathan disappoints Palestine during crucial UN Security Council vote

Posted by News Express | 31 December 2014 | 3,385 times

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been blamed for the outcome of yesterday’s crucial UN Security Council vote that rejected a Palestinian resolution demanding an end to Israeli occupation within three years. A report this morning in The Guardian of London said that Jonathan changed his mind at the last minute and abandoned Palestine “after Israel and the US crucially intervened to persuade Nigeria to abstain from voting.”

Palestinian officials and other observers had thought Nigeria would back a Jordanian-tabled resolution, thereby delivering a nine-vote majority on the council which would have required a US veto to be blocked. Washington had been working strenuously to avoid having to use its veto.

Until shortly before the vote on Tuesday, council diplomats had expected the resolution to get nine yes votes. But Nigeria abstained, with its ambassador, U Joy Ogwu, echoing the US position in saying that the path to peace lay “in a negotiated solution”.

One Palestinian source involved in the negotiations told the Guardian: “Even half an hour before the vote, Nigeria indicated it was committed to voting for the resolution. We knew that Rwanda, South Korea and Australia would not back it, but we believed Nigeria was on board.”

The apparent change by Nigeria, which is a rotating member of the council, came after both the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, phoned the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, to ask him not to support the resolution.

A State Department spokesman said on Tuesday that Kerry had called a number of senior foreign officials, including Jonathan, before the vote. Arriving at primary elections for leadership of his Likud party on Wednesday, Netanyahu confirmed he had spoken to both Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Jonathan before the UN vote. “I spoke with both of them,” he told reporters. “They promised me personally that they would not support this decision and they stood by their words. That is what tipped the scales.”

Netanyahu had a private meeting with the Nigerian president – seen by Israel as a potential ally on the Security Council – during the latter’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem in October.

Only eight countries voted in favour of the resolution, with the US – which opposed the motion – not using the veto it is granted as one of the five permanent members of the council.

•Adapted from The Guardian of London. Photo shows President Jonathan.

Source: News Express

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