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Fri 18 Oct 2013 10:15 AM

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Saudi Arabia declines seat on UN Security Council

Gulf kingdom accuses UN body of 'double standards' that makes it hard to end conflict and wars

Saudi Arabia declines seat on UN Security Council

 Saudi Arabia said on Friday it would not take up its rotating seat on theUnited Nations Security Council, citing "double standards" which it said hampered the world body's ability to end conflicts.

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

"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.

Saudi Arabia, along with Chad and Nigeria, were elected by the UN General Assembly on Thursday to serve a two-year term on the UN Security Council as human rights groups called for all three countries to improve their records.

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

US-allied Saudi Arabia has been angry over what it says is the failure of the international community to help either Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad or Palestinians seeking an end to more than four decades of Israeli occupation.

The Security Council has been split on how to handle the civil war in Syria, with Western powers pushing for stronger sanctions against Assad and Russia vetoing resolutions to that end. Saudi Arabiahas backed the rebels in that conflict.

The Saudis, along with other Arab states, have also often criticised the United States for blocking international action to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands seized in the 1967 Middle Eastwar.

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

Nezaud 6 years ago

For years we in Saudi Arabia have double standards in our legal system .

Doug 6 years ago

I don't see how Saudi Arabia can blame the UN for inaction over Syria. This is in the GCC's own backyard and the GCC has done absolutely nothing to help resolve the situation. Instead, it has sat back and expected the US and UK (as ever) to come and sort out everything - which isn't going to happen because every time they do, those living in the GCC whinge about 'Western imperialists' thinking they can fix everything. Clean up your own mess and stop expecting the West to do it for if you can't be grateful.

Frank 6 years ago

One question although i generally agree with your comment. Give me one country where the US and UK would ever sort anything out. Afghanistan? Iraq? Lybia? Give me a break. Killing thousands of civilians and bombing the heck out of third world countries is the only thing guys are capable of. And Saudis being the country with the worst human rights abuse in history AND global sponsors of terrorism - and now on the Security Council? What a joke. The UN does need a reform, they got this right. A reform that would prevent hypocrites like them from ever being involved in international politics.

Mike Jones 6 years ago

@all this is not a permanent seat just a rotating one, I agree with Saudi , what is the point? No motions can be tabled against Israel as US will veto it, nothing against Syria as Russia will veto, nothing against North Korea as China will veto. UN is a nearly bankrupt toothless tiger.

Vicky 6 years ago

Natural justice is served because securing the UN seat itself was not in line with the fundamental values and dignity it should reflect. Serious frailties of Saudi's social and political system are well documented (not referring to women rights or totalitarian legal system alone!). While US, UK, Russia and China have their own vested agenda in every political move, Saudi can't put the all the blame on others. It's own approach to Syria and Iran is based on certain sectarian orientation. The nations of the region have never sorted out local issues themselves because each one is trying to server sectarian and political vested interests. And, there is no record of outside elements of ever solving their problems because the force simply wouldn't work here.

Doug 6 years ago

Frank, that's my point. This part of the world whinges on and on every time there is a disaster and the US needs to fix it. So the US goes in with its usual inability to do anything except make things blow up, the problem gets worse, and then everyone in this part of the world complains about the US. Why can't people int he Middle East fix their own problems? If these countries are so convinced they could do a better job than America, why don't they?

Believe me, everyone in the US and Europe is just as fed up as people in the Middle East with the problems here. It's about time the GCC actually did something. 90% of the problems come from invaded populations taking issue with a 'Christian' invader. So why not get the Saudis to do it and remove that problem straight away? Syria is an Arab problem. Why won't any Arab nations do anything about it?

SAM 6 years ago

I totally agree with your post. What I find sad is that the U.N. feels that it can nominate a country without prior consultation with the named country. Are countries no longer free to make their own decisions, or did we all suddenly join the Borg?

SAM 6 years ago

@Telcoguy, Thank you for clarifying this point and your witty repartee. The fact remains the same though, a pointless and ineffective seat that they turned down, as it is obviously within their right to do so. I don't know how you concluded "Outrage at Western imperialism" from my post, but obviously that is an idea that you may have issues with and want to discuss in a public forum. I am OK with Western or Eastern Imperialism.