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Saudi Withdrawal Explained to ICP by Syria as  Inability to Support Geneva II

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 -- After Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari gave a speech Friday in the UN Security Council saying "the French regime" should give up its permanent seat on the Council, and slamming Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Inner City Press asked him what he thought the reason was for Saudi Arabia renouncing the Security Council seat it won Thursday without competition.

  Ja'afari made some expected points -- that Saudi Arabia does not allow women to drive and so is not qualified for the Council, for example, and that its mission does not have the capacity to serve on the Council. But this is true of others too, Inner City Press noted. What changed?

  Then Ja'afari offered this explanation, as an exclusive to Inner City Press: now that the Security Council has passed a resolution, and the push is on for the so-called Geneva Two talks, Saudi Arabia "cannot" (or does not want to be) part of that consensus. Even France cannot vote against Geneva Two. But could Saudi Arabia stand to be seen voting against it, isolated 14 to 1?

  This is something that changed, and recently - the coming together of the Council to vote for the chemical weapons mission, and singing from the same choir book about Geneva Two.

  It is not implausible, that as the date of starting on the Council grew closer, and the sides on the Security Council grew closer together and not farther apart, Saudi Arabia or someone in its royal family saw serving on the Council in a different light.

Kuwait, Ja'afari told Inner City Press, is no different.

  But Kuwait is not as aligned publicly - voting for a Geneva Two would not be seen as contradicting its positions or, as for Saudi Arabia, those it funds. We'll see. Watch this site.


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