For the first time, Saudi Arabia on Thursday has won a seat as a non-permanent member in the U.N. Security Council.
Saudi Arabia has joined Chad, Chile, Lithuania and Nigeria who took seats in an election. The five new non-permanent members will be replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo on the 15-member council on January 1 and for the upcoming two years.
All five countries stood unopposed in an election by the 193 member U.N. General Assembly.
While international envoys hurried to congratulate the Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, an unlikely incident took place.
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari was seen congratulating his Saudi counterpart. Both shook hands.
“I appreciate his initiative when he congratulated me, and I wish that we can work positively in the future,” Mouallimi told Al Arabiya.
“I hope that our Syrian brothers realize their country’s reality and know what the Syrian people are looking forward to, which must be taken into consideration,” he added.
On Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal agreed with his French counterpart Lauren Fabius that a political resolution is the best means to end the ongoing Syrian crisis.
But the ministers called for strengthening the Syrian opposition in its fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, a stance that has long irked Damascus.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia winning the seat will double the kingdom’s responsibility towards regional issues especially when it comes to the Syrian conflict, Al-Riyadh newspaper’s Editor-in-chief, Yusuf al-Kuwailet, told Al Arabiya.
Kuwailet emphasized that the kingdom will not change its policies towards Syria.
The Security Council’s five permanent members, which hold veto power, are the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
Saudi Arabia, on Friday, declined to accept the seat in the U.N. Security Council saying that the council is incapable of ending wars and resolving conflicts.