by Kolapo Olapoju
According to a report by The Guardian UK, the pair of Isreali Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and the United States Foreign Secretary, John Kerry called President Goodluck Jonathan on New Year’s day to ask him not to support the resolution for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.
The motion for the statehood of Palestine needed just 9 votes to pass at the United Nations Security Council, but was one vote short, only managing to get 8.
The report stated that, “Until shortly before the vote on Tuesday, council diplomats had expected the resolution to get 9 Yes votes”. However, Nigeria abstained from voting, with Ambassador of Nigeria to the UN, Joy Ogwu, saying that the path to peace lay ‘in a negotiated solution’.
A 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.”
Furthermore, the report stated that a State Department spokesman confirmed that Kerry had called a number of senior foreign officials, including Jonathan, before the vote.
While arriving at primary elections for leadership of his Likud party on Wednesday, Netanyahu revealed that he had spoken to both Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Jonathan before the UN vote.
“I spoke with both of them. 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 told reporters.
Apart from Nigeria, South Korea, Rwanda, United Kingdom and Lithuania are other countries who also abstained from voting at the United Nations Security Council while the United sates and Australia voted ‘no’ against Palestine statehood.
An activist reportedly said: “Such absention undermined Nigeria’s international standing. Nigerian Governments have always stood with the People of Palestine. Why is the President (Goodluck) Jonathan government (ending) that trend. This is condemnable.”