Saudi Arabia Rejects U.N. Security Council Seat

10/18/13
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
10/18/13:

Riyadh Denounces Organization’s ‘Double Standards’.

Saudi Arabia rejected a rotating seat at the United Nations Security Council Friday, denouncing the organization’s “double standards,” a move that signaled deep divisions between Riyadh and the West over the Syria crisis and a détente with Iran.

Riyadh’s rejection of the seat comes after Saudi Arabia declined to give a scheduled speech at the U.N. General Assembly last month. Although Riyadh never explained its withdrawal, Middle Eastern diplomats said the about-face was because of the U.S.-Iranian rapprochement at the General Assembly. Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter rivals in the region.

The move comes as Saudi Arabia suffered a number of humiliating diplomatic defeats since September, when it failed to secure harsher language in an Arab League statement condemning the Syrian government for allegedly using chemical weapons against its population. That blow was soon followed on the international stage when an intense lobbying effort by the Saudis to get the U.S. to strike Damascus over the chemical weapons attack failed.

The perceived affront was then topped off at the U.N., when Secretary of State John Kerry met his Iranian counterpart in New York, the first face-to-face talks since 1979.

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