US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley hosted a “Friends of the US” reception Wednesday night, inviting those who had voted against or abstained from voting on a resolution condemning the United States for officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon praised Haley’s leadership and called the US courageous.
“First, it was a courageous decision by President Trump and Ambassador Haley, and we thank the United States for this courageous decision, and tonight the US is continuing to show leadership in the Middle East, real leadership in the UN. There’s a lot of hypocrisy in the UN. I think tonight the countries who stood with the US will come and hear that the US is thanking them for standing for the truth and not joining the show of the Palestinians inside the UN,” he said on his way into the reception.
The vote happened in December, with 128 countries voting for the resolution. Nine voted “no” and 35 nations abstained, including Canada, Mexico and Australia. It appeared that not all the invited countries attended Haley’s reception.
The vote occurred after Haley threatened to limit the US funding contribution to the UN.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly,” Haley said. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution” to the UN, she added, and when other member nations ask Washington “to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
UN receptions generally include invitations for most, if not all, nations. However, depending on the issue, smaller receptions and dinner parties certainly can be held.
But receptions held by a powerful UN member country that publicly highlight the absence of dozens of other countries are extremely rare.
Ambassadors walking into the reception were diplomatic about the “Friends of the US” title for the evening to which many members were not invited.
“Well, this is always a privilege, enjoy if you are invited by a fellow ambassador of yours. This is the culture of the UN, so I am very happy to attend, and this is, by the way, the first meeting after New Year’s night,” said Katalin Bogyay, UN ambassador from Hungary. “I was sent an invitation, and I read on the invitation that the friends of the US are invited. We are very happy to be considered the friends of the US.”
Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko said he did not see a problem, since different receptions were held for different reasons.
“I think it’s a good idea. It’s the right of the host country.”