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Middle East

Jordan takes UN seat rejected by Saudi Arabia

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh says country is "extremely honoured" and "humbled" by the near consensus support.

Last updated: 06 Dec 2013 20:31
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Jordan will join four other newcomers to the Security Council on January 1 [EPA]

The UN General Assembly has elected Jordan to the Security Council to replace Saudi Arabia, which had rejected the seat in an unprecedented act to protest the council's failure to end the Syrian and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

Arab countries chose Jordan on Friday as a replacement, and Asian nations endorsed it to take the traditional Arab seat on the UN's most powerful body.

The Security Council consists of 15 members, five of which - US, Russia, China, Britain and France - are permanent members while the rest are elected to serve for two-year terms.

Jordan received received 17 "yes" votes in Friday's election.

Saudi Arabia got one vote, and four countries in the 193-member world body abstained. The 10 other countries were either absent or unable to vote because of unpaid dues.

Jordan's Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, said the country was "extremely honoured" and "humbled" by the near consensus support from the international community.

He said the support recognised "Jordan's relentless efforts in the pursuit of peace and security, the very principles that the Security Council is mandated to preserve".

Shock rejection

Saudi Arabia stunned the diplomatic world by rejecting the Security Council seat less than 24 hours after it was elected on October 17.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry denounced the Security Council's inability to resolve the Syrian civil war and Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to convene a conference on creating a Mideast zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

Saudi Arabia also was upset about the warming US-Iran relationship, seeing Tehran as its main rival in the region.

Asked whether Jordan agreed that the Security Council was dysfunctional, Judeh said: "Saudi Arabia declined to take the seat for its sovereign reasons."

He added: "These are reasons that we respect. This is their independent decision."

Since joining the world body in 1955, Jordan has held the council seat twice before. It will join four other newcomers to the council on January 1. They include Chad, Nigeria, Lithuania and Chile. 

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Source:
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