U.S. Opts Out of Vienna Protocol After Palestinian Accusation

WASHINGTON (Reuters/Hamodia) -
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton answers questions from reporters during a news conference in the White House, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the United States would withdraw from the “optional protocol” that gives the ICJ jurisdiction to hear disputes under the Vienna Convention.

He said it was related to a case brought by the Palestinians challenging the recent U.S. embassy move from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim.

“This is in connection with a case brought by the so-called State of Palestine naming the United States as a defendant, challenging our move of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he said at a White House briefing.

“I’d like to stress the United States remains a party to the underlying Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and we expect all other parties to abide by their international obligations under the convention.

“The U.S. will not sit idly by as baseless politicized claims are brought against us,” he said. Withdrawal from the protocol will prevent the Palestinians from pressing their claim against the U.S.

The administration was reviewing all international agreements that could expose it to binding decisions by the International Court of Justice, not only those involving the Palestinians.

A reporter asked about his use of the term “so-called state.” “Is that language productive in achieving the president’s…”

Bolton interjected that “It’s accurate, it’s not a state.”

“It could become a state, but that requires diplomatic negotiations with Israel and others,” he noted pointedly.

Bolton also voiced support for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s charges that Iran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear program, saying the U.S. has been reviewing the intel.

“I must say it’s extremely impressive.”

“We’ve been very supportive of the Israeli effort,” he added.