Display of anger: Saudi Arabia declines Security Council seat

Published: October 19, 2013
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Saudi Arabia said it was unable to take its seat in the UN Security Council until reforms were introduced. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Saudi Arabia said it was unable to take its seat in the UN Security Council until reforms were introduced. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

RIYADH: 

Saudi Arabia, in a display of anger at the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues, said on Friday it would not take up its seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The kingdom condemned what it called ‘international double standards’ on the Middle East and demanded reforms in the Security Council, which has been at odds on ways to end the fighting in Syria.

Unlike in the past, when Riyadh’s frustration was mostly directed at Russia and China, it is now also aimed at Washington, its oldest international ally.

Citing the Security Council’s failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, steps to end Syria’s civil war and stop nuclear proliferation in the region, Riyadh said the body had instead perpetuated conflicts and grievances.

“Saudi Arabia … is refraining from taking membership of the UN Security Council until it has reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties,” said a Saudi foreign ministry statement.

France, a Security Council permanent member, said it understood Saudi concerns. “We share their frustration after the paralysis of the Security Council,” a French foreign ministry spokesman said.

The Russian foreign ministry said it was surprised at Saudi Arabia’s move and puzzled by its accusations against the Security Council. “With its decision, Saudi Arabia has removed itself from the collective work of the UN Security Council to support international peace and security,” the ministry said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2013.

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