MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia sharply criticized Saudi Arabia on Friday for refusing its non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council on the grounds that the international body had been inefficient in handling the Syrian crisis and other global conflicts.
Riyadh’s rejection, which came shortly after the kingdom was elected as one of the council’s ten non-permanent members Thursday, stunned the UN, as no country has ever refused a seat on the influential body.
“We are surprised with the unprecedented decision of Saudi Arabia, whose candidacy was supported by the majority of the UN members at the vote in the General Assembly,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.
“With its decision, Saudi Arabia has excluded itself from collective work within the Security Council to support international peace and security,” the statement said.
Moscow questioned what it called Riyadh’s “strange” reasoning in its criticism of the alleged inefficiency of Security Council mechanisms.
“Saudi Arabia’s criticism of the UN Security Council in the context of the Syrian conflict is particularly strange, especially after the Security Council has unilaterally passed resolution 2118 forming the legal framework for the comprehensive settlement of conflict in Syria,” the foreign ministry said.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads over the Syrian conflict ever since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in 2011. While Moscow backs the Assad regime, Riyadh is a major supporter of opposition rebels.