Highlights: Democracies attack as Syria takes over UN disarmament conference

As the Assad regime took over the presidency of the UN’s top disarmament forum today, democracies clashed with the Syrian chair. Highlights below.


  • China: “We would like to congratulate you on assuming the presidency of the conference. You can count on the full support of my delegation on your endeavors.”
  • Iran: “Mr. President, we would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency.”
  • Pakistan: “Allow me to begin by congratulating you on the presidency of the CD, and assure you of my delegation’s full support.”
  • Russia: “We support the presidency and will provide him every assistance.”
  • Iraq: “I would like to congratulate you and your county in assuming presidency of the CD.”
  • North Korea: “Your rich experience and profound knowledge will guide us.”


  • Syria: “There was a mistake. I did not thank Germany for his statement, I thanked him for his threats.”
  • Germany:  “None of my statements were intended as threats… Making cynical remarks from the chair does not serve this purpose….”
  • Pakistan: “Denying the president to speak in the national capacity in the Conference on Disarmament is dual hearted; the president is the presiding officer and represents the country. How can we expect a CD member to deny them the right to speak?”
  • US: “Syrian regime’s of using chemical weapons is well established.”
  • EU: “We must all remember the Syrian regime bares all responsibility for prolonging the Syrian conflict.”
  • Syrian President: Before giving the floor to the next speaker on the speakers list I would like to bring to the attention of the member state, to address countries by their official name and not to use a language that is not appropriate that is non diplomatic in this hall.” In reference to calling the Syrian government a “regime.” 


US: “Simply put, it’s a travesty that the Syrian regime that slaughters its people will preside over this body. We should all hold accountable the Syrian regime and those who enable their barbaric crimes. Syria has neither the credibility nor moral authority to preside over this body….  It’s interesting that the regime is concerned by the poisoning of the atmosphere [of the CD]. I am more concerned by the poisoning of the Syrian people.”

Netherlands: “Syria is the modern example of the effect of impunity.”

New Zealand: “Total disregard of human lives.”

Japan: “Condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons in Syria.”

Spain: “The exercise of presidency by a country that seriously fails to comply is a real contradiction.”

Australia (on behalf also of Canada and Turkey): “Our governments feels strongly that the credibility of this body has been undermined.”

France: “The Syrian regime does not have moral authority or political legitimacy to exercise as president of CD.”
UK: “Syria’s continuous non compliance undermines the very principle of this conference. It is a travesty that Syria has assumed the presidency of this body.”


US: “During the next four weeks we will be present in this hall to ensure that Syria is not able to advance initiatives that run counter to the interests of the United States, but we will fundamentally alter the nature of our presence in the plenaries. The US will also not attend any informal meetings the Syrian president may decide to convene, or attend any of the CD subsidiary body discussions during Syria’s presidency.

We look forward to resuming normal participation in all CD meetings following the end of Syria’s presidency. We encourage others to join us to express their outrage on Syria’s actions and their objections to Syria’s regime presiding over the CD.

France: “To mark its disapproval, we will not be represented by our ambassador in the CD for the plenary sessions of this forum during the four weeks ahead of us.”

Canada: “To highlight the hypocrisy of the Syrian regime, throughout June we will also be giving our voice to the survivors of chemical attacks in Syria by sharing their testimonies… Since Syria’s decision to assume the rotating function of the CD presidency is unacceptable to Canada, our Permanent Representative will not participate in any plenary meetings during this presidency.”

Israel:Israel’s seat will remain vacant, our level of representation will be lowered, [and] we will not be involved in any substantive discussion under this deplorable presidency.”

UN Watch