Egypt confirms: Sissi, Trump agreed in call to delay UN vote on settlements
US president-elect had publicly urged Washington to veto draft, because Israel feared Obama was going to let it go through
CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt agreed to postpone a UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements when US President-elect Donald Trump called President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the presidency said Friday, confirming reports that emerged Thursday.
Egypt requested Thursday that its resolution demanding Israel halt settlements be postponed after Jerusalem launched a frantic lobbying effort. An official in Jerusalem later Thursday accused the Obama administration of attempting a diplomatic ‘hit’ against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the settlements by planning to let the resolution pass, and a second Israeli source said the administration, in its final days, was violating a “core commitment” to defend Israel at the UN.
“The phone call touched on the draft resolution before the United Nations Security Council on Israeli settlements,” a statement from Sissi’s office said.
“After becoming aware that the (US administration) would not veto the anti-Israel resolution, Israeli officials reached out to Trump’s transition team to ask for the president-elect’s help to avert the resolution,” an Israeli official told AFP on Friday.
Trump, who had campaigned on a promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, bluntly said publicly that Washington should use its veto to block the resolution.
“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” he said in a statement.
Sissi, a former military chief who overthrew his Islamist predecessor Mohammed Morsi in 2013 in a move condemned by Obama, has expressed admiration for Trump.
He told the Financial Times in a recent interview that he was “very optimistic” about Trump.
“President-elect Trump is tackling terrorism with more resolve and seriousness and that’s exactly what’s needed now,” he said.
Meanwhile, four members of the Security Council on Thursday gave Egypt a midnight deadline to push ahead with the resolution, saying they would bring it for a vote if Cairo stood by its decision to delay.
“In the event that Egypt decides that it cannot proceed to call for vote on 23 December or does not provide a response by the deadline, those delegations reserve the right to table the draft … and proceed to put it to vote ASAP,” wrote New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal in a note they presented to Egyptian officials, according to Reuters.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report