Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva Hussam Edin Aala presides over the Conference on Disarmament at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, May 29, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Syria takes rotating presidency of UN conference in Geneva, US protests

Syria has taken the rotating presidency of the United Nations (UN)’s Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, prompting disruptive objection by the United States.

The chairing of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) rotates alphabetically among the body’s 65 members every four weeks, and Syria’s turn came on Monday.

Syrian Ambassador Hussam Edin Aala opened the conference’s latest round on Tuesday.

American disruption

The US, opposed to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, objected to Syria’s takeover of the committee’s presidency.

“Syria’s presence here is a travesty… and it is just unacceptable for them to be leading this body,” US Ambassador Robert Wood said just before the session began on Tuesday.

The US delegation — led by Wood — then briefly left the room in protest and returned shortly afterwards.

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