News / Middle East

Gulf States, Egypt Back Saudi Rejection of UN Seat

Members of the United Nations Security Council vote unanimously to approve a resolution eradicating Syria's chemical arsenal at a meeting during the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sep. 27, 2013.
Members of the United Nations Security Council vote unanimously to approve a resolution eradicating Syria's chemical arsenal at a meeting during the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sep. 27, 2013.
Reuters
Saudi Arabia's Gulf Arab allies and Egypt have applauded its decision to reject a U.N. Security Council seat in protest at the world body's failure to act on Syria, whose leader is backed by Russia and Shi'ite Iran.
 
Saudi Arabia turned down a coveted two-year term on the council on Friday in a rare display of anger with what it called “double standards” in the United Nations.
 
Permanent council members Russia and China have repeatedly blocked resolutions to condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime ally of Iran, Riyadh's main regional rival.
 
Saudi Arabia, which backs the mostly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, has described his attempts to crush them as genocide. Assad, whose Alawite sect is derived from Shi'ite Islam, enjoys solid support from Iran and the armed Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah. The Syrian leader denounces his foes as al-Qaida-linked groups backed by Sunni-ruled states.
 
Riyadh's frustration with Russia and China now extends to the United States, its historic ally, not only over Syria, but also over Washington's acquiescence in the fall of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and its new quest for a nuclear deal with Iran.
 
Expressions of support from Saudi Arabia's Gulf Arab friends contained no overt criticism of U.S. policy, but echoed the kingdom's complaints about the Security Council's failure to end the war in Syria and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

"Brave Saudi position"
 
Kuwait shares Riyadh's pain, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah said, citing the “bloody massacres” in Syria and the “suffering of the Palestinian people”. He said the Saudi rejection of a council seat had sent a message to the world.
 
No country has previously been elected to the council and then walked away. As an incoming member, Saudi Arabia would have taken up its seat on January 1 for a two-year term. Riyadh demanded unspecified reforms in the world's top security institution.
 
Plaudits also came from Cairo, which was promised billions of dollars in aid from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in July after Egypt's army overthrew eletected President Mohamed Morsi. The ousted Islamist leader's Muslim Brotherhood is viewed as a political danger in most Gulf states.
 
“This brave Saudi position is favored with all of Egypt's respect and appreciation,” Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said in a statement posted on his ministry's Facebook page.
 
The Egyptian head of the Cairo-based Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, also said Riyadh had every right to protest against the management of the Security Council, which he said should rethink the veto-wielding powers of its five permanent members.
 
Voicing its support, the United Arab Emirates said it agreed that the views of Arab countries had been marginalized.
 
The Saudi decision had handed the U.N. secretary-general and the permanent council members “historic responsibility to review the role of the United Nations, its powers and its charter,” UAE Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said.
 
Bahrain praised Riyadh's “clear and courageous stand”, while Qatar suggested it could shake the world out of complacency.
 
Addressing his Saudi counterpart, Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah wrote on Twitter: “When you are angry, you send the world into disarray, so thank you.”

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid