In an unprecedented move last Friday, Saudi Arabia turned down an offer by the United Nations to sit on the Security Council for two years as a non-permanent member. No country has ever been offered this opportunity and refused to accept.
Why did Saudi Arabia turn down the seat on the Security Council?
Saudi Arabia rejected the offer claiming frustration at United Nations’ ineffectiveness regarding the Middle East and solving conflicts around the globe. In a revelatory statement released by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, they accused the UN Security Council of “double standards” that “prevent it from carrying out its duties and assuming its responsibilities in keeping world peace.” Calling for reform, they highlighted the United Nations’ “failure to find a solution” for both the Palestinian cause and the current civil war in Syria.
The Saudis had supported the American plan for a retaliatory military strike after the Syrian government’s deadly chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians in August. However, the United States opted for a diplomatic option that resulted in a UN Security Council resolution that did not involve military intervention. Saudi Arabia was disappointed and expressed their anger through this denial of Security Council membership.