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At UN, Jordan Takes Saudi UNSC Seat, Dodges Dysfunction, Mandela Silence

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 6 -- That Jordan on Friday would get the UN Security Council seat Saudi Arabia rejected was a foregone conclusion. It remained to be seen by how many votes it would win the uncontested election, and what Jordanian foreign minister Nasser Judeh would say afterward.

Of the UN's 193 member states, 185 showed up and voted. Two were "invalid," and four abstained. Of the rest, Jordan got 178 votes and Saudi Arabia got one.

When Judeh came to the penned-in stakeout after the vote, Inner City Press asked him: Saudi Arabia rejected the seat saying the Security Council is dysfunctional on Syria, a nuclear free Middle East, and the question of Palestine (and Israel). Does Jordan think the Council IS functional? And what does it intend to do on those three issues?

Judeh said Saudi Arabia declined the seat for its own sovereign reasons, "which we respect." He then said Jordan on the Council will work with its "allies" to advance the principles of the UN. Then he left.

Jordan's Permanent Representative to the UN Prince Zeid was there; he has done nitty gritty work at the UN on trying to limit abuse among UN Peacekeepers, and to stop a military figure from Sri Lanka accused of war crimes from serving with Zeid on the Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations.

While the votes were counted, both Judeh and Zeid greeted Riyad Mansour of the Observer State of Palestine and other diplomats; Inner City Press from a table-less media booth took photos, tweeting some, including of Judeh greeted by Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari, here.

  Before the vote, President of the General Assembly John Ashe announced a minute of silence for the death (and life) of Nelson Mandela. A screen at the front of the room showed Mandela's picture on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal.

By contrast, the French bank BNP Parisbas sent a note to clients that Mandela's death would not be a "long term driver" of the markets. The International Criminal Court put out a statement -- it wasn't clear if by its judges, or prosecutor, or spokesperson -- as did the IMF's Christine Lagarde.

  PGA Ashe said there will be a separate General Assembly session on honor of Mandela. Ashe this week postponed a previously scheduled Inter Governmental Negotiation on Security Council reform from December 5 to December 12.

Inner City Press is exclusively informed this is due to a split in Ashe's six member Advisory Group (Liechtenstein, Belgium, San Marino, Brazil, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea). There is a GA "Advisory Group" meeting scheduled for the UN's basement at 4:30 pm today. But Jordan will be joining an UNreformed Council. Watch this site.


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