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France shares Saudi Arabia’s ‘frustration’ on Security Council

Published: Updated:

France said Friday it shared Saudi Arabia’s frustration on the U.N. Security Council after Riyadh rejected membership over “double-standards” in resolving world conflicts, namely Syria.

“We have an ongoing dialogue on the subject of Syria with Saudi Arabia. We share its frustration after the Security Council’s paralysis,” French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said, noting that France is proposing reforms to the council’s veto rights.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia won, for the first time, a seat as a non-permanent member in the U.N. Security Council.

But Saudi Arabia on Friday refused to accept its rotating U.N. Security Council seat, saying the council is incapable of ending wars and resolving conflicts.

“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,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry blamed the Council for failing in its duties toward Syria. It said this has allowed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to commit crimes against Syrian people without facing any punishment.

The ministry also said the Council has been unable to resolve the decades-long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. It also criticized it for failing to transform the Middle East into a region free of mass destruction weapons.

If Saudi Arabia maintains its stance, the Asia-Pacific group of nations would have to propose a new candidate for the U.N. General Assembly to vote on.

“These things have to be decided by the group, and others, and I don’t know whether or not Saudi Arabia can be persuaded to assume its position,” said Pakistan’s U.N. envoy Masood Khan. Saudi Arabia was to replace Pakistan on the council.

Meanwhile, Russia on Friday sharply criticized Saudi Arabia for rejecting the U.N. membership, slamming the kingdoms “strange” argument that the body had failed over the Syria conflict.

“We are surprised by Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented decision,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The kingdom’s arguments arouse bewilderment and the criticism of the U.N. Security Council in the context of the Syria conflict is particularly strange,” it added.