Joined: 24 Feb 2003
|Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:00 am Post subject: Another UN oddity: North Korea heads disarmament body
|Another UN oddity: North Korea heads disarmament body
By Steven Edwards
July 1, 2011
UNITED NATIONS — Nuclear-armed North Korea has assumed the presidency of a key United Nations disarmament body — despite facing UN Security Council sanctions over its weapons programs.
The development comes in the same week the UN defended its decision to support Iran's holding of an international "anti-terrorism" conference — which saw participants declaring that Western powers were the international terrorists.
UN officials point out that North Korean ambassador So Se Pyong takes on the presidency of the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament under rules that say the chair will rotate among all 65 member states in alphabetical order.
But critics said Wednesday the rules should be changed when they allow the body — whose mandate is in part to push for world nuclear disarmament — to be led by a country that the West considers to be an international nuclear renegade.
"No system should tolerate such a fundamental conflict of interests," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, which also led protests against the UN's input at the Iranian "anti-terrorism" conference.
"It's common sense that a disarmament body should not be headed by the world's arch-villain on illegal weapons and nuclear proliferation, notorious for exporting missiles and nuclear know-how to fellow rogue regimes around the globe."
Once a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, North Korea pulled out in 2003 after violating it, then conducted its first nuclear bomb test in 2006, and is believed to have stockpiled up to eight nuclear warheads. . . . [More]
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