The U.S. is reportedly planning to pull out of the UN’s Human Rights Council after clashes over key issues such as Israel.
A source told Reuters that the move could be “imminent.” The council will begin a three-week session in Geneva on Monday.
Other diplomatic sources told Reuters that the withdrawal was “not a question of if but of when.”
U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has clashed with the council over its treatment of Israel, and has repeatedly voted against UN measures that were critical of that country. Most recently, the U.S. and Australia were the only two members to vote against a proposal to investigate Israel’s alleged use of excessive force in Gaza.
Haley has criticized the Council over what she called a “chronic anti-Israel bias,” and threatened last year to leave.
“When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong,” she wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post last June.
The U.S. rejoined the council under former President Obama after boycotting for three years under former President George W. Bush.
Haley has also called for other reforms to the body, including making it easier to expel member states with poor human rights records, specifically Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia.
Swiss Ambassador Valentin Zellweger told Reuters that he agrees with Haley that “not all members fulfill the criteria” for membership to the Council, but expressed concern over the potential withdrawal.
“The decision by the Americans will have a profound impact on the Council,” Zellweger said. “If they withdraw, we can expect significant consequences.”Fierce fighting intensifies outside Yemen’s Hodeida airport