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Syria Set to Chair U.N. Forum That Banned Chemical Weapons

DAMASCUS, SYRIA - APRIL 07: An affected Syrian child receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 07, 2018. (Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Washington, DC

As the United States and its allies contemplate military action against Syria for gassing its own people, Syria is poised to chair the United Nations committee responsible for banning chemical weapons.

Syria is scheduled to ascend to the leadership position of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament next month, according to the non-governmental organization (NGO) UN Watch. The conference is comprised of 65 nations.

“Having the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad preside over global chemical and nuclear weapons disarmament will be like putting a serial rapist in charge of a women’s shelter,” said United Nations Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “We urge the UN to understand that at a time when Syria is gassing its own men, women, and children to death, to see Syria heading the world body that is supposed to protect these victims will simply shock the conscience of humanity.”

Hussam Edin Aala, Syria’s ambassador to the forum, will be involved in organizing the conference and setting the agenda according to the NGO. This is in accordance with U.N. rules.

UN Watch pointed to an occasion in 2013 when the United States and Canada pulled out of the committee when Iran was chair. It called on the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, and other member and observer states “to refuse to send ambassadors to any meeting of this UN forum that is being chaired by Syria.”

In 2011, the Obama administration did not oppose the re-election of Syria to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Committee on Conventions and Recommendations. Fox News cited UNESCO’s website regarding the purpose of the committee which “examines communications relating to cases and questions concerning the exercise of human rights.”

One year after an April 2017 chemical attack on civilians, Syria again stands accused of gassing its own people. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump declared to Russia in a tweet that his administration would bomb Syria in response. After Syria’s April 2017 chemical weapons attack on its people, the Trump administration responded with targeted missile strikes.

Trump canceled a scheduled trip to South America set for the coming weekend to deal with responding to the attack. The administration has indicated that it is working with allies to gather evidence of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime was responsible for the attack and how the U.S. and allies will respond, possibly jointly.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.

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