Jordan is set to replace Saudi Arabia on the Security Council for a two-year term starting in January, according to a UN diplomat, after the Saudis unprecedented rejection of the seat hours after they were elected.

The diplomat, speaking to the Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity because the deal was made privately, said Jordan's UN Ambassador Prince Zeid al Hussein was flying to Amman on Thursday night to discuss Jordan's new role on the UN's most powerful body.

Earlier this week, Jordan dropped its bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, leaving Saudi Arabia a clear path in the now uncontested election next Tuesday.

The UN General Assembly, which voted on October 17 to give Saudi Arabia the seat traditionally reserved for an Arab nation on the council, will have to formally approve Jordan as a replacement.

Since Jordan is almost certain to be the only candidate, its election is virtually assured.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry stunned the diplomatic world with the announcement that it was rejecting the seat, less than 24 hours after it was elected.

The Saudis issued a scathing attack on the Security Council's failures to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Syria, and to convene a conference on creating a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

The rejection appeared largely directed at the country's longtime ally, the United States.

The oil giant and the world's superpower are at odds over a number of Middle East issues, including how Washington has handled some of the region's crises, particularly in Egypt and Syria.

It also comes as ties between the US and Iran, the Saudis' regional foe, appear to be improving.

Source: AP