Balkan countries voted in different ways in the UN General Assembly resolution, where most countries urged the United States to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Most countries defied US President Donald Trump on Thursday and voted in favour of the resolution calling for Washington to drop its plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The resolution was passed in a 128-9 landslide that saw some three-quarters of nations voting “yes”. Another 35 abstained and 21 were no-shows.
The only countries to vote in favour of the US were Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo and, of course, Israel.
By contrast, most European countries, including close US allies, voted in the favour of the resolution in accordance with their previous statements.
Balkan countries found themselves caught in a tug of war between the EU and the US but most of them still followed the EU’s path, not Washington’s.
Before the vote at the UN, European foreign ministers strongly rejected calls by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for them to follow Trump’s example and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Serbia and Turkey all voted in favour of the UN resolution and defied US warnings.
Known as a close US ally, as well as having friendly relations with Israel, Albania felt the need to explain its vote at the UN, saying Albania “held the joint position of the overwhelming majority of EU members countries”.
However, some in the Albanian opposition expressed frustration over the decision. Former Prime Minister and current Democratic Party MP Sali Berisha took to Facebook to call the vote “against the country’s national interest”.
On social networks, many citizens also commented on Albania’s stand, considering that it might have been better to abstain over the Jerusalem issue.
This was the position taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Romania, while Moldova was no-show at the vote.
According to local media in Bosnia, Bakir Izetbegovic, Bosniak member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, wanted to vote against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the United Nations but both Croats and Serbs opted to abstain.
Following criticism of how Bosnia with its large Muslim poopulation abstained over the Jerusalem issue, Halid Genjac, a senior figure from main Bosniak party, the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, on Friday reminded critics that the country’s tripartite presidency requires consensus on such decisions.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country marked by different opinions. Under these conditions, we had no other choice but abstain,” Genjac explained.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest topics in the stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
The international community does not recognize Israel’s attempt to take control of the whole of the city of Jerusalem, including the mainly Palestinian east.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu attacked the United Nations as a “house of lies” ahead of the vote and later he rejected the result.