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Arab League chief backs Saudi Arabia’s rejection of UNSC seat

AFP-JIJI

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby on Sunday backed Saudi Arabia’s rejection of a seat on the U.N. Security Council, saying it had failed in its responsibility toward the Arab world.

Elaraby told reporters that Saudi Arabia was right to object to the Security Council’s management methods and to the fact that it failed in its responsibility to secure international peace, “which it is not doing at all.”

He said Palestinians and Syrians were the worst affected by the council’s weakness in the last six decades.

His remarks come a day after Arab nations urged Saudi Arabia to reverse its decision to reject a seat on the 15-nation council. Arab ambassadors to the U.N. said it was crucial for Saudi Arabia to represent the Arab and Muslim world on the council “at this important and historical stage, specifically for the Middle East region.”

Saudi Arabia won a prized two-year seat on the council Thursday, but a day later said it would not take it up because of the council’s “double standards” on Syria and other Middle East hot spots.

“Work mechanisms and double-standards on the council prevent it from carrying out its duties and assuming its responsibilities in keeping world peace,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said, calling for reforms of the council.

Many diplomats and analysts have said the Saudi protest was a message to the United States that it wanted a tougher stance on Syria and was angry that Washington had opened contacts with Iran, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.