The Middle East power had previously decried the 15-member council's ineffectiveness in dealing with world affairs, notably the Syrian crisis and Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a letter on Tuesday from Saudi Arabian permanent representative to the United Nations headquarters in New York, Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi officially served notice on the world organization.

The move came after the Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement on October 18 declining the position, one day after the 193-member UN General Assembly elected the country for a two-year council term starting on January 1.

"The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to advise you that Saudi Arabia will regrettably not be in a position to assume its seat in the Security Council to which it was elected on Oct 17, 2013 for the period of 2014-2015," the letter read.

Observers believed the decision to not only boycott the council but to reject the election was directed at the US, its longtime ally, for the latter's inability to negotiate a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for Washington not intervening in the Syrian civil war which has claimed well over 100,000 lives in more than 30-month fighting.

Jordan, which shares a border with Israel, has a vital interest in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also shares a border with Syria and has become a major destination for refugees fleeing the civil war.

The US is one of the five permanent, veto-wielding, members of the council along with Britain, China, France and Russia. The panel of 15 has five members elected to two-year terms every year.


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