UNITED NATIONS - Saudi Arabia officially notified the United Nations on Tuesday of its decision to reject a seat on the UN Security Council, which UN diplomats said clears the way for the likely election of Jordan as a replacement.
The 193-member UN General Assembly elected Saudi Arabia last month for a two-year council term from Jan. 1 but, in a surprise move, Riyadh declined the position a day after the vote in protest of the council's failure to end the Syria war and act on other Middle East issues.
Western diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Friday it appeared Jordan had agreed to replace Saudi Arabia on the council after dropping out of a race against Riyadh for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
Jordan's place on the Security Council still would need to be approved by two-thirds of the General Assembly. Saudi's official letter on Tuesday to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon allows for a new election to be called.
"I wish to inform you that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to advise you that Saudi Arabia will regrettably not be in position to assume its seat in the Security Council to which it was elected," Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador, Abdullah al-Mouallimi, wrote.