Sat, Oct 19, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Saudi Arabia turns down seat on UN Security Council

‘DOUBLE STANDARDS’:The kingdom has been critical of the UN’s failure to stop the war in Syria and end occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel

Reuters, RIYADH

Saudi Arabia yesterday said it would not take up its rotating seat on the UN Security Council, citing “double standards” that it said hampered the world body’s ability to end conflicts.

It is the second time this month that Saudi Arabia has publicly expressed discontent over what it sees as the Security Council’s failure to take action to stop a civil war in Syria that has killed more than 100,000 people.

“The kingdom sees that the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Saudi Arabia, along with Chad and Nigeria, were elected by the UN General Assembly on Thursday to serve a two-year term on the Security Council as human rights groups called for all three countries to improve their records.

The Saudi foreign ministry said it was unable to take its seat until reforms were introduced, but did not specify what reforms it wanted.

US-allied Saudi Arabia has been angry over what it says is the failure of the international community to help either rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or Palestinians seeking an end to more than four decades of Israeli occupation.

The Security Council has been split on how to handle the civil war in Syria, with Western powers pushing for stronger sanctions against al-Assad and Russia vetoing resolutions to that end.

Saudi Arabia has backed the rebels in that conflict.

The Saudis, along with other Arab states, have also often criticized the US for blocking international action to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands seized in the 1967 Middle East war.

Earlier this month, the Saudi foreign minister canceled a speech at the UN General Assembly in frustration over the international inaction on Syria and the Palestinian issue, a diplomatic source said.

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