Saudi move ‘represents Muslim world view’
20 October 2013
Experts have welcomed the Saudi government's decision to reject a two-year stint on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The Kingdom rejected the seat on Friday, a day after its election onto the body, because it believes the UNSC has failed to solve world conflicts including the Syrian crisis.
Abdullatif Al-Zayani, GCC secretary-general, said the Kingdom wants the UNSC to reform and fulfill its mandate outlined in the UN Charter to maintain peace and security in the world. Al-Zayani said the UNSC has failed to carry out its responsibilities on issues affecting Arab countries.
Saudi columnist Ali Al-Mousa agreed with the decision, despite the heated competition for the seat on the UNSC. “I was not surprised by this unprecedented move following the UN failure to do what it said it would do. It is better for the Kingdom to withdraw than to engage in mere political debate in a region of political unrest. Seventy percent of the UN Security Council’s resolutions are concerned with the Middle East,” he said.
“If it had accepted the seat, Saudi Arabia would have had to take firm positions on issues such as the Arab Spring and the Iranian nuclear program, on which the UNSC might not deliver. This would eventually jeopardize its interests in the region. But now, there will be no political repercussions from the Kingdom’s decision.”
There was a great deal of support for the decision from people on online news and social media websites, with many describing it as representing the views of Muslims across the world.
Saudi bloggers using an active hashtag on Twitter agreed that the decision was a step in the right direction. Masab Alganas, a blogger, recalled King Abdullah’s speech at the Islamic Summit held in Riyadh last February when he said: “We will turn our backs on the UN Security Council if it fails to achieve international peace and security … especially in Palestine and Syria.”
Another blogger, Abdulmajeed Al-Ghamdi, wrote that the Kingdom has sent a strong message to those who think that it can be taken for granted to support US foreign policy in the region.
Gerard Araud, France's ambassador to the UN, told reporters on Friday he could understand Saudi Arabia’s frustration with the UNSC, particularly on Syria.
“We think Saudi Arabia would have made a very positive contribution to the Security Council. But we also understand the frustration of Saudi Arabia. The fact is that the Security Council has been unable to act for more than two years. We have tried repeatedly to move forward. You know some countries have repeatedly vetoed all our contributions,” said Araud.