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— File photo
— File photo

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.

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Comments (6) Closed

Saad(DXB) Oct 18, 2013 03:18pm

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.

a Oct 18, 2013 07:34pm

Well done Saudi Arabia.

Usher Oct 18, 2013 08:36pm

Excellent decision

Murtaza Oct 18, 2013 09:36pm

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 Oct 19, 2013 03:53am

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?

illawarrior Oct 19, 2013 06:46am

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.