July 01, 2011 11:35
North Korea has assumed the presidency of the UN arms control conference that started in Geneva on Tuesday. Although this is a mere formality, observers say it is absurd for the multilateral UN conference on arms control and disarmament to be chaired by one of the chief violators of international agreements that continues to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.
Hillel Neuer of UN Watch told Fox News on Wednesday, "It is common sense that a disarmament body should not be headed by the world's arch-villain on illegal weapons and nuclear proliferation."
He called on the U.S. and Europe to protest against the appointment.
In a speech at the disarmament conference in January, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned, "The very credibility of this body is at risk," according to UN spokesman Farhan Haq.
The UN arms control conference is the only multilateral disarmament negotiating body and was launched in accordance with a decision by the first Special Session on Disarmament of the UN in 1978. Both Seoul and Pyongyang joined the conference in 1996.
It has 65 member countries which take turns to chair it every four weeks. Originally it was Cuba's turn, but it asked for the rotation order to be changed, so the presidency fell to North Korea instead.
In August 2001 when it was its first turn to assume the presidency, the North declined.
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