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2nd LD Writethru: UN General Assembly elects Jordan to Security Council seat


2nd LD Writethru: UN General Assembly elects Jordan to Security Council seat

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The UN General Assembly on Friday overwhelmingly elected Jordan to take the Security Council seat refused by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia was elected to the Council on Oct. 17 but rejected the following day, citing failures of the 15-member panel to act on crises in the Middle East.

Jordan is to begin its two-year term as a non-permanent council member on Jan. 1, 2014.

With 179 members of the 193-member General Assembly voting by secret ballot, Jordan received 178 votes while Saudi Arabia got one.

There were two invalid ballots submitted. Four of the 185 nations abstained.

Jordan, which had served twice on the Security Council since becoming a UN member in 1955, announced on Nov. 18 its bid to seek the seat Saudi Arabia rejected and consensus grew among delegations in support of Amman's bid for the seat designated for the Asia-Pacific region.

Jordan's candidacy was assured when it was approved last month by the Asia-Pacific regional group of countries at the United Nations.

Riyadh stunned the diplomatic world when it announced on Oct. 18 its refusal to take the non-permanent seat, accusing the Security Council of having "double standards" in failing to intervene in the Syrian civil war and resolve the Israeli- Palestinian crisis.

The announcement apparently stunned the Jordanian Mission to the United Nations which had been actively campaigning for the non- permanent seat and was still celebrating its victory when the Riyadh announcement was made.

However, it wasn't until Nov. 12 when a formal letter was delivered to the United Nations.

The Security Council, the most powerful UN body, has five permanent, veto-wielding members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United Nations -- and 10 non-permanent members.

The Friday secret balloting began after President John W. Ashe of the UN General Assembly led a brief remembrance, including a moment of silence, for former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95. A formal memorial session was to be scheduled on a date to be announced.