PNG govt defends vote againt US recognition of Jerusalem

7:23 pm on 8 February 2018

Papua New Guinea's foreign minister has defended the country's UN vote against Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Papua New Guinea foreign minister Rimbink Pato.

Papua New Guinea foreign minister Rimbink Pato. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Rimbink Pato was responding to a question in parliament about PNG supporting a UN resolution in December criticising the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In total, 128 countries voted for the resolution, with just nine countries voting in support of the US.

However, Mr Pato was questioned by the Nuku MP Jo Sungi why PNG had voted against Israel, a country it historically had strong religious affiliation with.

"Can you tell the population of this country, why this country has voted against the very nation we believe in?" Mr Sungi asked.

Mr Pato responded that it was not a vote against Israel.

According to the minister, the vote was supportive of world peace, but was not made in the context of Christianity.

The legal stand of the UN since 1967 was that Israel must live in peace with its neighbours, and that PNG's vote supported that stand, Mr Pato said.

"And it was not a decision based on Christian principles, which is in accordance to our foreign policy that is 'to become friends to all and enemies to none'" he said.