Ukraine summons Israeli ambassador amid UN vote squabble

Kiev fires back at Israel's decision to cancel a scheduled visit by Ukraine's prime minister.

December 26, 2016 16:23
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjmain Netanyahu and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin sign agreeements as U

Prime Minister Benjmain Netanyahu and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin sign agreeements as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko looks on. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Ukraine fired back on Monday at Israel's decision to cancel a scheduled visit by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman because of Kiev's vote in the UN Security Council, calling in Israel's ambassador to Kiev for a clarification.

According to a statement put out by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Kiev expressed its “disappointment” to Eliav Belotserkovsky at the “emotional reaction of some Israeli officials and politicians” following the the passage of the anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council that Ukraine supported on Friday.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. Jerusalem nixed the visit, however, because Ukraine was among the 14 states that voted on Friday for the anti-settlement resolution at the UN.

The Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned in a representative from the Ukrainian embassy in Israel to protest that vote.

According to a statement issued by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry after Belotserkovsky was called in, the two sides agreed to focus on the preparation of a number of “important bilateral events,” including the next round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement, as well as negotiations to liberalize air traffic between the two countries.
UN Security Council passes resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building

The cancellation of Groysman’s visit was one of a number of steps Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered following the vote, including recalling the ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand – which were among the sponsors of the resolution – and curtailing the trips of ministers to the 14 countries who voted against Israel.

According to the statement, Ukraine has over the years “adhered to the consistent and balanced position on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We stand for peaceful coexistence of two independent States – Israel and Palestine. The settlement of the conflict must be carried out only through peaceful means. However, we emphasize the need for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

The statement also said that Ukraine has “more than once” condemned Israeli settlement activities, and also condemns the “violence and incitement” from the Palestinians. According the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the text of the UN resolution was “balanced.”

“Our country consistently advocates the respect for the international law by everyone and everywhere as [it] has experienced itself the tragic consequences brought [about] by its violation,” the statement said in reference to Crimea. “That’s why our position was formed on the basis of our consistent line to ensure the respect for the international law by all its subjects.”

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said that the decision to cancel Groysman's visit was part of a policy to send a signal to the world that Israel will begin extracting a price for countries that vote against it in critical votes in international forums.

Ukraine has one of the better voting records on Israel-related issues in Europe, generally abstaining or not being present for these votes. For instance, it was not present when the UN General Assembly granted non-member observer state status to “Palestine” in 2012, and abstained when UNESCO accepted “Palestine” as a member in 2011.

Ukraine aso abstained on the two votes in UNESCO this year which  expunged any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

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