Senegal on Sunday defended its vote in favor of a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to “Israeli settlements”, after Israel decided to recall its ambassador to Dakar and to suspend its aid program to Senegal.
"Senegal's position must be saluted. The international community hails Senegal's stance, especially the Muslim nations," government spokesman Seydou Gueye said in a statement carried by national television and quoted by AFP.
"Senegal abided by its diplomatic vision. Since 1975, Senegal has been a member of the (UN) Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," Gueye added.
Asked about Israel's suspension of all its aid programs in the country, the spokesman said the government had not yet been officially informed of the decision.
"When it is informed of such a decision, it will issue a response," Gueye said, according to AFP. He did not comment on Israel's move to recall its ambassador to Dakar.
Senegal was one of four Security Council members to resubmit the anti-Israel resolution for a vote on Friday, a day after Egypt withdrew the resolution. The other three countries were New Zealand, Malaysia and Venezuela.
Senegal, one of the UN Security Council's 10 non-permanent members, re-established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1995.
The UN resolution was passed after the United States chose to break with its longstanding protocol and abstain.
After the resolution passed, Israel recalled its ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand for consultations.
It has no diplomatic relations with Venezuela or Malaysia.
In another act of protest, reported AFP, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also decided to cancel a visit by Senegal's foreign minister set for January.
In addition, the United States ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, was on Sunday summoned to a meeting with Netanyahu, who also serves as Foreign Minister.