France says shares 'frustration' of Saudi on Security Council

18th October 2013, Comments 0 comments

France said Friday it shared Saudi Arabia's frustration after Riyadh rejected membership of the UN Security Council over "double-standards" in resolving world conflicts, namely Syria.

"We have an ongoing dialogue on the subject of Syria with Saudi Arabia. We share its frustration after the Security Council's paralysis," French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said, noting that France is proposing reforms to the council's veto system.

France in September proposed that the five permanent Security Council members no longer have the power to veto resolutions when they involve "mass crimes".

Saudi Arabia was elected to the council on Thursday but rejected membership "until it is reformed and given the means to accomplish its duties".

Oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia is a staunch backer of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Its foreign ministry pointed specifically to the civil war in Syria and the protracted Palestinian-Israeli conflict as key reasons to decline a council seat.

Permanent members Russia and China have used their vetoes on the Security Council to block resolutions against the Assad regime.

"Over the last two-and-a-half years, the Security Council has not been able to take a position on Syria," Nadal said.

At the UN General Assembly in September, French President Francois Hollande proposed reforms to the council that would see permanent members give up their veto rights in the case of mass crimes.

"This is a simple answer that would improve the Security Council's effectiveness and probably also its legitimacy and ability to assume its responsibilities in maintaining global peace and security," Nadal said.

© 2013 AFP

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