UNITED NATIONS: Saudi Arabia on Friday declined a seat on the UN Security Council, citing “double standards” that made it hard for the world body to end conflict and wars.

This was the first time the Arab country had won such a seat in a new show of determination to make its voice heard, joining Chad, Chile, Lithuania and Nigeria in taking places on the key body.

All five countries stood unopposed in an election by the 193 member UN General Assembly. They would replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo on the 15-nation council on January 1.

The country was due to replace Pakistan on the Security Council.

Saudi Arabia, despite its oil power and standing in the Muslim world, has never competed for a place on the United Nations' most powerful body which has a key role pronouncing on conflicts such as that in Syria.

“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,” said the foreign ministry in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

It said it was unable to take its seat until reforms were introduced, but did not specify what reforms it wanted.

The Security Council has been divided on how to handle the civil war in Syria, with Western powers pushing for stronger sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad and Russia vetoing resolutions to that end.

The conservative kingdom has several times expressed alarm at what it considers international inaction over Syria. It has been a major backer of the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. The Saudi government also remains a fierce critic of Israel.

Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador Abdullah Al-Mouallimi had earlier told reporters that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supported the Syrian people's struggle for “freedom and prosperity and unity.”

Five countries have permanent seats on the Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. The other 10 seats are awarded for two year periods by the General Assembly, which holds a vote every year for five of the seats.

More From This Section

India goes to polls in biggest voting day

India hosts its biggest day of voting, with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty battling to save Congress from defeat to Modi.

Modi rules out BJP’s will to revise ‘no-first-use of nukes’ policy

BJP had pledged to review India's nuclear stance, whose main pillars are no-first-use and building a minimum arsenal.

Up to 293 missing in S. Korea ferry capsize: officials

The ferry, identified as the Sewol, was carrying about 470 passengers and en route to Jeju island.

Ukraine operation to retake east unravels ahead of talks

Nato said it planned to deploy more forces in eastern Europe and called for Russia to stop “destabilising” Ukraine.

Comments are closed.

Comments (6)

October 18, 2013 3:18 pm

I have to agree with Saudi Arabia here. Firstly, the right to veto resolutions has fostered the culture of might is right to the benefit of 5 nations. Secondly, Security Council has become irrelevant since 9/11, as USA and it allies have waged wars again Afghanistan & Iraq without UN approval and have also continued drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia without UN SC's approval. Finally, Security Council resolutions have been blocked, mostly by the US that could have prevented Israel from increasing the number of settlements on occupied Palestinian lands or killing of Palestinians at will. In short, the whole United Nations Organisation, other than its aid agencies, has become irrelevant and antiquated.

October 18, 2013 7:34 pm

Well done Saudi Arabia.

October 18, 2013 8:36 pm

Excellent decision

October 18, 2013 9:36 pm

Look whose talking.... First of all Saudia Arabia should overcome its own double standards vis-a-vis conflicts in middle east (Bahrain vs. Syria)

Jalaluddin S. Hussain
October 19, 2013 3:53 am

UN can become an effective international body once the Veto power of the five big powers - the USA, the UK, France, the USSR and China are taken away. But the question is who will bell the cat?

October 19, 2013 6:46 am

As a form of protest against UN ineffectiveness, I agree with Saudi's decision, but from a practical viewpoint, such things are usually easier to change from within, than without, and refusing to take a seat, may be walking away from a chance to bring about necessary change.

Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
From The Newspaper