The first open session of the Conference on Disarmament chaired by Syria on Tuesday led to protests from several diplomats and the US ambassador termed Syria’s presidency as a ‘travesty’.
In protest, the US ambassador Robert Wood left for a brief time when Syria’s ambassador Hussam Edin Aala took the floor to open the session.
According to AFP, “Syria’s presence here is a travesty. This regime has committed countless crimes against its own people through the use of chemical weapons, and it is just unacceptable for them to be leading this body,” said Robert Wood just before the session began.
It has been alleged that in April, Syria had used chemical weapons against its people and the CD members have protested against Syria heading the conference.
“They don’t have the moral authority or the credibility to preside over this body, and we are going to make very clear during their four-week presidency that we find it abhorrent,” Wood added.
“Today marks a sad and shameful day in the history of this body. Let me be clear: we cannot permit ‘business as usual’ in the CD while Syria presides over this body,” said Wood as reported by AFP.
The 65 members of the Conference of Disarmament follow the alphabetical order of country names in English to preside the CD session. Syria took over from Switzerland following the alphabetical order.
Syria has also received a cold shoulder from the ambassadors of US, Britain and Australia.
Exhibiting disapproval, Wood further said that for the next month they would be present in the hall to ensure that Syria is not able to advance initiatives that run counter to the interests of the US. “We will fundamentally alter the nature of our presence in the plenaries,” he said.
(with inputs from AFP)