Saudi Arabia Rejects UN Security Council Seat

Saudi Arabia rejected a seat on the United Nations Security Council just hours after the UN General Assembly elected it, for the first time, to serve as one of the council’s 10 nonpermanent members. In justifying the country’s Oct. 18 decision, the Saudi foreign ministry said the Security Council was not capable of resolving global conflicts, such as the Syrian civil war, reported the Associated Press (via Yahoo News). Saudi Arabia backs Syrian opposition forces in the two-and-a-half-year civil war and has criticized the international community for failing to stop the fighting, which has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, according to UN figures. The Saudi snub to the Security Council came as a surprise to UN diplomats since the Saudis had been lobbying for a seat right up until the General Assembly’s vote, according to AP. Although Saudi Arabia and the United States are long-time allies, strains reportedly have emerged in the relationship in the last few years due to the Saudis’ dissatisfaction with how the United States has responded to Middle East crises like the violent power struggle in Egypt as well as in Syria.