Jordan will replace Saudi Arabia on the Security Council for a two-year term starting in January after the Saudis’ unprecedented rejection of the seat hours after they were elected, a UN diplomat said on Thursday.
The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal was made privately, said Jordan’s UN Ambassador Prince Zeid Al Hussein was flying to Amman on Thursday night to discuss Jordan’s new role on the UN’s most powerful body.
Earlier this 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 next Tuesday.
The UN General Assembly, which voted on October 17 to give Saudi Arabia the seat traditionally reserved for an Arab nation on the council, will have to formally approve Jordan as a replacement. Since Jordan is almost certain to be the only candidate, its election is virtually assured.
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.
Jordan, which shares a border with Israel, has been a key behind-the-scenes player in efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. US Secretary of State was in Amman on Thursday trying to rally support for his peace efforts from His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and warning of a return to violence if peace efforts fail.
Jordan also shares a border with Syria and has become a major destination for refugees fleeing the 2 ½-year civil war. In April, Prince Zeid sent a letter to the Security Council saying the refugee crisis had sparked “a grave humanitarian situation” that threatens the country’s security and stability.