Syria chairing world disarmament body 'a travesty,' US says

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The US ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva mentioned it was "a travesty" that Syria would head the Convention on Disarmament, leaving briefly when the Syrian consultant took the ground. Syria's presidency falls between a previous session hosted by Switzerland and a forthcoming session being organized by Tunisia.

According to AFP, "Syria's presence here is a travesty".

U.S. Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament Wood attends a news conference at the Geneva Thomson Reuters GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States will stage a walkout in protest at Syria's presidency of the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood told reporters on Tuesday.

"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.

Wood briefly left the room when Syria's ambassador Aala opened the session, before returning to voice Washington's displeasure from the floor.

The delegation stood from their seats as the Syrian ambassador to the U.N., Hussam Edin Aala opened the latest round of the conference.

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"The world came together in 1997 to outlaw the development, stockpiling and use of these vile substances through the Chemical Weapons Convention", Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement.

Other permanent missions to the Geneva-based CD support the United States and Britain and would protest against Syria's lack of "political legitimacy" and "moral authority" at the conference, a diplomatic source said.

He said his country would be represented "in this hall to ensure that Syria is not able to advance initiatives that run counter to the interests of the United States".

A number of ambassadors from other countries, including Britain, Australia, and France, echoed Wood's remarks.

But he pointed out that all CD members including Syria had to agree to change the rotating system.

The CD is a multilateral disarmament forum that meets in three sessions a year in Geneva.