Saudi Arabia officially turned down its seat at the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, with the kingdom’s envoy sending a letter to U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon to inform him of the move.
The Saudis rejection of the seat now makes way for Jordan to take the place.
Saudi Arabia won the seat last month, but refused it in protest of the council’s efforts on the Syrian conflict.
“I wish to inform you that the government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to advise you that Saudi Arabia will regrettably not be in position to assume its seat in the Security Council to which it was elected,” Saudi U.N. envoy Abdullah al-Mouallimi wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Agence-France Presse.
Attached to the letter was a copy of a Saudi foreign ministry statement issued last month which slammed the Security Council’s failure to act over the 32-month-old Syria war.
The Saudi government said the 15-country’s deadlock over Syria was “irrefutable evidence and proof of the inability of the Security Council to carry out its duties and responsibilities.”
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed that a letter had been received about the Security Council seat, but did not give details.
“The matter is now one for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Security Council and the member states to consider,” he told AFP.
Western diplomats now say Jordan will take up the seat. Jordanian officials have confirmed that the move is being discussed but not confirmed the country will take up the seat.
Afshin Molavi, a research fellow at the Washington-based think tank, New America Foundation, told Al Arabiya News last month that Saudi Arabia rejecting the seat was closely related to Saudi King Abdullah’s “personal frustration over what he views as United Nations Security Council inaction on Syria.”
“I think that they have chosen this unprecedented symbolic step of refusal,” said Molavi, adding that such a decision would not have a significant effect on its influence.
“Saudi Arabia already has the power to influence [international] events. A membership in the U.N. Security Council would not have changed that,” he added.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday won a seat at the Human Rights Council, the U.N.’s highest rights monitoring body, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.
China, Russia and Cuba were also elected, raising speculations of potential battles over human right issues to be considered by the council in the future.
The U.N. General Assembly elected 14 seats on the 47-member council which is taking on increased diplomatic importance because of Syria’s civil war and other conflicts.