US & Canada to boycott UN disarmament talks during Iran presidency; France, Germany, UK should follow

GENEVA, May 14, 2013 – UN Watch commends the U.S. and Canada for strongly protesting Iran’s looming presidency of the UN disarmament conference and  announcing (see below) that their ambassadors will  boycott the session during Tehran’s five weeks at the helm.

The decisions by Washington and Ottawa came in response to UN Watch’s call for action yesterday.

UN Watch once again calls on the EU, and particularly, Britain, France, and Germany, to protest as well.

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The US decision was announced here:

Statement by Erin Pelton, Spokesperson, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, on Iran’s Rotation as President of the Conference on Disarmament, May 13, 2013

Iran’s upcoming rotation as President of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is unfortunate and highly inappropriate. The United States continues to believe that countries that are under Chapter VII sanctions for weapons proliferation or massive human-rights abuses should be barred from any formal or ceremonial positions in UN bodies.

While the presidency of the CD is largely ceremonial and involves no substantive responsibilities, allowing Iran–a country that is in flagrant violation of its obligations under multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and to the IAEA Board of Governors–to hold such a position runs counter to the goals and objectives of the Conference on Disarmament itself. As a result, the United States will not be represented at the ambassadorial level during any meeting presided over by Iran.

Canada’s decision was reported by Sun News here:

Canada to boycott UN committee

OTTAWA – Canada condemns the fact Iran will lead a United Nations-sponsored disarmament committee and will express its displeasure by boycotting the forum for the five weeks Iran is in the chair.

“This makes a mockery of disarmament issues and the world’s sincere desire to make progress,” said Rick Roth, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

“In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, the regime is working directly against global disarmament goals and subverting the fundamental principles of this committee.”

Geneva-based UN Watch said Iran is an outlaw state and already the target of UN sanctions for its nuclear program and other activities in the Middle East.

“This is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,” said Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director.

Iran takes over leadership of the committee May 27 as part of a rotation among the committee’s 65 members.

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