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Saudi Arabia rejects seat on U.N. Security Council

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Saudi Arabia officially told the United Nations on Tuesday that it would not be taking up a UN Security Council seat — opening the way for Jordan to take the place.

Saudi envoy to the United Nations Abdullah al-Mouallimi wrote to UN leader Ban Ki-moon to inform him of the move and reaffirm a Saudi protest over the way the council has acted over the Syria conflict.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed that a letter had been received about the Security Council seat, but did not give details.

“The matter is now one for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Security Council and the member states to consider,” he said.

Saudi Arabia won a seat on the Security Council for the first time last month. But the following day the Saudi government stunned leading powers by announcing it would not take up the place.

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Western diplomats now say Jordan will take up the seat. Jordanian officials have confirmed that the move is being discussed but not confirmed the country will take up the seat.

Jordan did however withdraw its candidacy from the race for a UN Human Rights Council position so that Saudi Arabia was guaranteed a place in an election held on Tuesday.

Jordan is believed to be wary of taking up the seat because of its sensitive position on the frontier of the Syrian civil war.

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A new UN General Assembly election will have to be held to allow a new country to take up the two year seat that Saudi Arabia should have started on January 1.

“I wish to inform you that the government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to advise you that Saudi Arabia will regrettably not be in position to assume its seat in the Security Council to which it was elected,? Mouallimi wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

Attached to the letter was a copy of a Saudi foreign ministry statement issued last month which slammed the Security Council’s failure to act over the 32-month-old Syria war.

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The Saudi government said the 15-country’s deadlock over Syria was “irrefutable evidence and proof of the inability of the Security Council to carry out its duties and responsibilities.”

The government also complained about lack of progress in efforts to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The Saudi ambassador has since stepped up calls for reform of the Security Council.

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Diplomats and analysts say the Saudi protest was aimed at US policy over Syria and the Middle East as much as toward the Security Council.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met Saudi monarch King Abdullah last week in a bid to patch up strains in relations.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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‘It’s Hafiz Saeed. Not Jason Bourne’: Trump mocked for tweet on arrest of Mumbai attacks suspect

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Pakistanis Thursday mocked US President Donald Trump's claim that the alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind had been arrested "after a ten-year search" while he was actually in the public eye for much of the decade.

Hafiz Saeed, a firebrand cleric accused by Washington and New Delhi of being behind the 2008 attacks, was taken into custody on Wednesday, days ahead of a trip by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Washington for his first meeting with Trump.

"After a ten-year search, the so-called 'mastermind' of the Mumbai Terror attacks has been arrested in Pakistan. Great pressure has been exerted over the last two years to find him!" Trump tweeted Wednesday.

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Jeffrey Epstein apparently did nothing but sexually abuse underage girls, according to one victim's attorney.

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US President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared unfamiliar with the work and cause of Nobel laureate Nadia Murad as she pleaded with him to help the Yazidis of Iraq.

Murad, one of thousands of women and girls from the ancient faith abducted by the Islamic State group as they overran swathes of Iraq in 2014, joined a group of survivors of religious persecution who met Trump in the Oval Office on the sidelines of a major meeting at the State Department.

After Murad explained how her mother and six brothers were killed and that 3,000 Yazidis remained missing, Trump said, "And you had the Nobel Prize? That's incredible. They gave it to you for what reason?"

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