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Middle East

Saudi Arabia officially declines council seat

Country writes Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to officially inform UN of unprecedented decision to decline council seat.

Last updated: 12 Nov 2013 23:13
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Saudi Arabia's decision clears way for Jordan to take traditional Arab seat on UN's most powerful body [EPA]

Saudi Arabia has officially informed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that it will not take its seat in the Security Council, clearing the way for Jordan to take the traditional Arab seat on the UN's most powerful body.

Prior to Tuesday's letter from Saudi Arabia's UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Moualimi to the secretary-general, there was no official notification to the United Nations of the Saudi decision. Many diplomats and UN officials said formal notification was essential for the General Assembly to call a new election.

Saudi Arabia stunned the diplomatic world with the unprecedented announcement that it was rejecting the council seat, less than 24 hours after it was elected on Oct 17.

The Foreign Ministry accused the Security Council of failing to end the Syrian and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and to convene a conference on creating a Mideast zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

Following the Saudi announcement, Arab nations and other countries urged Saudi Arabia to keep the seat but last week it became clear that the government was sticking by its rejection and Jordan would replace it.

Jordan's information ministry said on Monday the kingdom is eager to assume the Security Council seat.

Jordan's election, which requires a two-thirds majority of the 193-member assembly, is now virtually certain.

In his letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Al-Mouallimi said that "Saudi Arabia will regrettably not be in a position to assume its seat," citing the reasons given by the Foreign Ministry, but he reaffirmed the government's commitment to the United Nations.

 

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