Saudi Arabia rejects Security Council seat

The Saudi Foreign Ministry says the Council has failed in its duties toward Syria

Updated - November 16, 2021 11:06 pm IST

Published - October 18, 2013 04:05 pm IST - DUBAI

Saudi Arabia has rejected a rotating seat at the Security Council, as a mark of protest against the perceived inaction by the world body against Syria.

On Thursday, the kingdom had for the first time been elected by the General Assembly to become a non-permanent member.

The Saudi monarchy — a staunch supporter of military action to topple President Bashar al-Assad — said the Security Council is incapable of tackling international conflicts.

“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.”

Riyadh said the UNSC had also failed to settle the Israel-Palestinian issue. It also drew attention to the Council’s inability to turn West Asia into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction — an apparent reference to Israel’s alleged stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The decision evoked a strong response from Moscow, which has stood against regime change in Damascus. “We are surprised by Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented decision,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday. “The kingdom’s arguments arouse bewilderment, and the criticism of the U.N. Security Council in the context of the Syria conflict is particularly strange,” it added.

Saudi Arabia’s decision follows the recent UNSC resolution backing a Moscow-brokered deal that commits Syria to destroying its entire stockpile of chemical weapons to avoid possible western military strikes. Saudi Arabia slammed the move, which has allowed weapons inspectors to move into Syria to tally and destroy the Assad government’s arsenal of chemical weapons. Riyadh is also widely perceived as a major supporter of armed fighters battling the Assad regime

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