While UN ambassadors urge Saudi Arabia to reconsider its UNSC seat, GCC and Qatar back KSA's decision

Published October 20th, 2013 - 06:36 GMT
The Saudi Foreign Ministry, headed by Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, announced its rejection of its UNSC seat Friday in protest of "[how] the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace" (Andrew Burton/Reuters)
The Saudi Foreign Ministry, headed by Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, announced its rejection of its UNSC seat Friday in protest of "[how] the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace" (Andrew Burton/Reuters)

UN ambassadors from the Arab world are urging Saudi Arabia to reconsider its decision to forgo its non-permanent member seat of the UN Security Council, while the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Qatar are backing the kingdom's decision, according to AFP and Al-Jazeera sources.

In a statement released Saturday, Arab representatives to the UN said they "respect and understand" the Saudi position, but urged the Gulf kingdom to "maintain their membership in the Security Council and continue their brave role in defending our issues specifically at the rostrum of the Security Council."

At the same time, the GCC released a statement backing Saudi Arabia's rejection of the seat as a mechanism to call for UN reform. Al-Jazeera reports quoted the GCC Secretary General, Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, saying that Saudi Arabia's decision "underlined the importance...[and serves as a] call for the realisation [and need] of a fundamental reform of the Security Council's system."

The Qatar government echoed GCC's stance Saturday, with the Foreign Ministry announcement that "the state of Qatar agrees with the reasons outlined by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn down a non-permanent seat on the United Nationsl Security council."

Saudi Arabia had previously turned down the two-year seat Friday in protest of how the UN has handled the war in Syria as well as issues across the Arab world more generally.

Saudi Arabia's decision has been considered a message to the United States about its current policies and diplomacy with Syria and Iran, respectively. The Gulf nation has been a major supporter of the Syrian opposition rebels and considered an "arch-rival" of the Iranian government.

 Nigeria, Lithuania, Chad and Chile were also awarded non-member seats on the council.


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