Turkey Says Regrets to See Veto of U.N. Resolution on Jerusalem

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey regrets the vetoing by the United States on Monday of a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for the U.S. declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to be withdrawn, the Turkish foreign ministry said.  The United States was further isolated over President Donald Trump’s decision when it blocked a United Nations Security Council call for the declaration to be withdrawn despite the other 14 members voting in favor of it. “The United States being left alone in the vote is a concrete sign of the illegality of its decision on Jerusalem,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the U.S. decision to veto the resolution showed once again that Washington had “lost objectivity” and that it was unacceptable for the Security Council to be left “ineffective” with such a move.

Later on Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and British Prime Minister Theresa May discussed the blocking of the resolution in a phone call, and agreed that new tensions that could endanger the peace process in the region should be avoided, sources in Erdogan’s office said.

Erdogan has taken a leading position in opposing the U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, hosting representatives from more than 50 Muslim countries, including U.S. allies, in Istanbul last week for a summit in response.

A communique issued after the summit said the participants considered the move to be a declaration that Washington was withdrawing from its role “as sponsor of peace” in the Middle East.

Trump’s decision broke with decades of U.S. policy and international consensus that Jerusalem’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian talks, leading to harsh criticisms from Muslim countries and Israel’s closest European allies, who have also rejected the move.

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third-holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

Following the U.S. block on the U.N. resolution, a spokesman for Erdogan said that the annulment of Trump’s decision would be sought in the U.N. General Assembly.

“All countries except for the Trump administration acted in unison in this vote. Now the UN General Assembly period will start,” Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.