UNITED NATIONS - The international community called on involved parties to hold negotiations to determine the status of Jerusalem after the United States on Monday vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution.

The Egyptian Ambassador to the United Nations, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, said that the draft resolution sought to ensure that any attempts to alter the characteristics or demographic composition of the Old City of Jerusalem would have no effect, were null and void, and must be rescinded.

It also called on all parties not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

The other 14 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the Egypt-drafted text but as the United States, a permanent member of the UNSC, has veto power, the draft resolution failed to be adopted.

In explaining the veto, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said it was the first US veto in the Security Council in more than six years.

"We do it with no joy, but we do it with no reluctance," she told the Security Council.

Despite the fact that the vote was 14-1, Haley said the veto was not a source of embarrassment for the United States. "It should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council," she said, arguing that her country had the sovereign right to determine where or whether to establish its embassy in another country.

The other members of the Security Council hold that Israel has no sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, an issue that should be solved by the Israelis and Palestinians through negotiations.

Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the United Nations, said his country disagrees with the US decisions to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

"These decisions are unhelpful to the prospects of peace in the region, an aim that all of us in this council remain committed (to)," he told the Security Council after the vote.

"The British embassy in Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it," he added.


Members of the UN Security Council raise their hands as they vote on a draft resolution that would reject US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a meeting on the situation in the Middle East including Palestine on Dec 18, 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. (KENA BETANCUR / AFP)

Rycroft said the British position on Jerusalem was clear and long-standing: "The status of Jerusalem should be determined through a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians, and should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states."

Britain regards East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, as part of the occupied Palestinian territories.

Wu Haitao, charge d'affaires of China's permanent mission to the United Nations, said the issue of Palestine, which is at the core of Middle East peace, is complicated and sensitive.

The issue of Jerusalem is particularly complicated and sensitive, and involves the basis for finding a solution to the Palestinian issue, he said.

A series of Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2334, made stipulations on the issue of Jerusalem. The draft resolution put to vote on Monday is in line with previous Security Council resolutions and is a continuation of the contents and spirit of past resolutions, said Wu, explaining China's "yes" vote on the draft resolution.

China has consistently supported and pushed forward the Middle East peace process, he said.

We support the just cause of restoring the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, support the establishment of a fully sovereign, independent State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.