x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Jordan to pursue UN Security Council seat that Saudi Arabia turned down

Following Saudi Arabia's rejection of the seat, Jordan is virtually assured to take the position as it is expected to be the only candidate.

AMMAN // Jordan is eager to assume a UN Security Council seat that Saudi Arabia had turned down after differences with the United States, the kingdom’s information minister said yesterday.

The UN General Assembly voted on October 17 to give Riyadh the seat traditionally reserved for an Arab nation on the council.

But following Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the seat, Jordan is virtually assured to take the position as it is expected to be the only candidate.

Mohammed Momani, who is also the Jordanian government spokesman, said that Jordan is “consulting” with Gulf Arabs, US and other governments to help support its bid ahead of another General Assembly vote.

He said the kingdom is seeking Saudi approval for its bid. The two monarchies are “traditionally strong” and that Riyadh “will not be upset” if Jordan received the seat, he said.

Last week, Jordan dropped its bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, leaving Saudi Arabia a clear path in the now uncontested election on Tuesday. Some activists accused the two countries of making a trade.

Another Jordanian official said the government has received US “blessing and support” for the Security Council seat during secretary of state John Kerry’s talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman last Thursday.

“Receiving the seat is recognition of Jordan and the king’s standing as a moderate force in the region,” Mr Momani said.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry stunned the diplomatic world with the announcement that it was rejecting the seat, less than 24 hours after it was elected. The Saudis issued a scathing attack on the Security Council’s failures to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Syria, and to convene a conference on creating a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

The rejection appeared largely directed at the country’s longtime ally, the US.

Associated Press