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Saudis Reject Security Council Seat, Citing 'Double Standards'

Posted: October 18, 2013

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In apparent anger over the handling of Syria, the Foreign Ministry in Riyadh turned down the rotating seat until unspecified reforms in the "method and work mechanism" on the council are undertaken.

The U.N. Security Council votes on a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons, at U.N. Headquarters last month.

The U.N. Security Council votes on a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons, at U.N. Headquarters last month. Craig Ruttle

Saudi Arabia says it will turn down a two-year seat on the United Nation's Security Council in protest over "double standards" in resolving international conflicts.

"Saudi Arabia ... is refraining from taking membership of the U.N. Security Council until it has reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international security and peace," said a Foreign Ministry statement issued on state media.

"The kingdom sees that the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace," the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

The New York Times writes:

"The gesture seemed to reflect Saudi Arabia's simmering annoyance at the Security Council's record in Syria, where Russia and China — two of the five permanent members — have blocked Western efforts, broadly supported by Saudi Arabia, to pressure President Bashar al-Assad. The other permanent members are the United States, Britain and France.

"The Saudi announcement came a day after Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia were elected to seats on the 15-member Security Council for a two-year term starting in January. They replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.

"It was the first time that Saudi Arabia had sought to gain one of the nonpermanent seats on the council. Its decision to turn down the seat seemed all the more surprising because its efforts to seek representation had been taken by experts as a reflection of the kingdom's wish to be more assertive in resolving the Syrian civil war and the Arab-Israeli conflict."

Reuters adds:

"It is the second time this month that Saudi Arabia has made a public gesture over what it sees as the Security Council's failure to take action to stop the civil war in Syria that has killed more than 100,000 people.

"Earlier this month, the Saudi foreign minister cancelled a speech at the U.N. General Assembly in frustration over the international inaction on Syria and the Palestinian issue, a diplomatic source said."

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