Saudi Arabia was elected in October to join the 15-member council from January 1, but in an unprecedented move Riyadh declined the role a day after the vote. While unopposed as the replacement, Jordan still needed two-thirds approval by the General Assembly. It was elected with 178 votes on Friday.
“We are extremely honored,” Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told reporters after the vote, adding that the election “recognizes the role of Jordanian diplomacy worldwide.”
Jordan emerged last month as the alternative candidate for the traditional Arab seat after Amman dropped out of a race against Riyadh for a three-year UN Human Rights Council seat. Saudi won the position on the top UN rights body on November 12.
A week later Jordan, which closely follows regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia on most foreign policy issues, announced its plan to run for the Security Council, with officials saying it wanted to raise its international profile and win more recognition for accommodating Syrian refugees.
The United States, Russia, China, France and Britain are permanent veto-wielding members of the UN. Security Council.
Jordan is now home to more than 600,000 refugees from the 2-1/2 year civil war in neighboring Syria, according to UN estimates, though Amman puts the figure as high as one million.
The refugees are posing a huge strain on the kingdom’s infrastructure and resources.
Jordan will now join Lithuania, Chile, Nigeria and Chad as new members of the council, replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Pakistan, Morocco and Togo. The other five temporary council members that will remain next year are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda.