Gül expresses hope Saudi rejection of Security Council seat will draw attention to UN’s failures

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Saudi Arabia is rejecting its membership seat on the U.N. Security Council and says the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts

Turkish President Abdullah Gül called for respect for Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the U.N. Security Council seat, expressing his hopes that the move will draw global attention to some of the international body’s failure.

“It seems like Saudi Arabia is trying to grab the world’s attention and to give a meaningful response. If they have chosen such a path, it should be met with respect,” Gül told reporters as he was leaving a mosque in Istanbul’s Emirgan neighborhood, near the Tarabya Palace following Friday prayers.

Gül also shared the Saudi’s frustrations regarding the Security Council’s long paralysis on Syria.

“The United Nations lost a lot of credit in the eye of human conscience. I was always criticizing [the U.N.] during the General Assembly meetings for its failure to counter many incidents,” Gül said, referring to his address at this year’s U.N. General Assembly last month.

During his speech, Gül openly criticized the United Nations, calling its failure on Syria a “disgrace.” Gül also urged for a reform of the U.N.’s structure, openly criticizing the world body and emphasized the necessity of a Security Council, “which is truly democratic, representative, effective and accountable.”

Speaking to reporters on Oct. 18, Gül said he wished for a stronger global focus on the failures of the international body. “I hope the world’s attention will be drawn on this issue after [Saudi Arabia’s rejection],” Gül said.

Saudi Arabia rejected membership of the U.N. Security Council on Oct. 18, a day after it was elected to the body, accusing it of “double-standards” in resolving world conflicts.

“Work mechanisms and double-standards on the Security Council prevent it from carrying out its duties and assuming its responsibilities in keeping world peace,” the foreign ministry said, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Therefore Saudi Arabia… has no other option but to turn down Security Council membership until it is reformed and given the means to accomplish its duties and assume its responsibilities in preserving the world’s peace and security,” a statement said.

For the first time ever, oil-rich, conservative Saudi Arabia won a seat on Oct. 17 on the 15-member council, which has a key role in dealing with world conflicts.

Failure to tackle regional conflicts

Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdullah al-Mouallimi said that reflected Riyadh’s “long-standing policy in support of moderation and in support of resolving disputes in peaceful means.” But the foreign ministry said Saudi Arabia declines to be a member of a body unable to tackle long-standing conflicts in the Middle East or rid the region of the threat of nuclear war.

It pointed specifically to the nearly three-year civil war in Syria and the protracted Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as key reasons.

“Failing to find a solution to the Palestinian cause for 65 years” it said, has led to “numerous wars that have threatened world peace.”

Likewise, it said, “allowing the regime in Syria to kill its own people with chemical weapons… without confronting it or imposing any deterrent sanctions… is a proof of the inability of the Security Council to carry out its duties and assume its responsibilities.”

The ministry also criticized the body’s “failure” to turn the Middle East into a region free from weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms — in a reference to nuclear disputes around Iran and Israel.

 

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