News Releases

Friday, April 22, 2016

Isakson: No Taxpayer Money to United Nations' Climate Convention

Warns Secretary Kerry that allowing Palestinian Authority to join convention violates U.S. law

WASHINGTON – In the wake of the United Nations recently allowing the Palestinian Authority to join its climate convention, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined 28 senators this week in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry demanding that the United States not send any taxpayer dollars to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change because doing so would be against U.S. law.

 While the UN has accepted the Palestinian Authority as a recognized “state” for the purposes of this climate convention, the United States does not recognize it as a state.

 The letter by Isakson and other senators warns that this action by the UN will damage peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and urges Secretary Kerry to publicly declare that the Palestinian Authority is not a recognized sovereign state. Further, it calls on Kerry to ensure no taxpayer money will go to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change because a 1994 U.S. law prohibits such entities from receiving U.S. funding.

 “Taxpayer dollars cannot be used for this purpose, period,” said Isakson, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. “Not only is it against the law, but it also complicates the already sensitive issue of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Supporting a UN convention that recognizes a sovereign Palestinian state will only increase problems with our strongest ally in the Middle East. I will never waver in my stand with Israel.”

 On March 17, 2016, the UN allowed the “State of Palestine” to become a member of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. That action triggered a statutory restriction under the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act that prohibits the U.S. government from providing taxpayer funds to affiliated organizations of the United Nations that grant full membership as a state to certain groups such as the Palestinians. As an affiliated organization to the UN, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its related entities are prohibited from receiving U.S. taxpayer funds.

 “The only realistic and sustainable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians,” the senators wrote.  “The unilateral actions of the Palestinians to seek statehood recognition through U.N. affiliated organizations, treaties, conventions, and agreements serve only to circumvent direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians… We implore the administration to hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions in circumventing the peace process…”

 The letter was led by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo, and was signed by Isakson and U.S. Senators Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Dan Coats, R-Ind., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., James Lankford, R-Okla., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Pat Roberts, R- Kan., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Dan Sullivan, R-Ark., John Thune, R-S.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Pat Toomey, R-Pa., David Vitter, R-La., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

 The full text of the letter is available here.