Astonishing the diplomatic community in New York, Saudi Arabia announced last night that it would not be taking up a seat on the United Nations Security Council just one day after being elected to the body for two years. Their decision comes in protest at the UN’s failure to respond decisively to conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.
Saudi Arabia was one of five countries picked to join the body on Thursday. After the vote Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said his government took it “very seriously” and saw it as “a reflection of a longstanding policy in support of moderation and in support of resolving disputes in peaceful means.”
A statement from the Saudi Foreign Ministry on Friday excoriated the Council for failing on multiple fronts, not just with the Syrian conflict but also in resolving Israeli-Palestinian tensions and ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction. It therefore would not be taking the seat, it said.
The statement released blamed their decision on the council’s “inability to perform its duties” to end the war in Syria, saying its failure has enabled President Bashar Assad’s regime “to kill its people and burn them with chemical weapons in front of the entire world and without any deterrent or punishment.” The Syrian regime denies using chemical weapons.
The snub may also reflect growing irritation with the United States, with which it has for so long be so closely tied. Saudi Arabia was angered by President Barack Obama backing off military strikes against Syria and has been clearly unsettled by what may be a thawing of the ice between the US and Iran, its arch rival in the region.
Posted By: Brittany Lintner