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U.S. walks out of U.N. arms forum as Venezuela takes chair

U.S. walks out of U.N. arms forum as Venezuela takes chair
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador and President of the Conference on Disarmament Robert Wood attends a session at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Copyright DENIS BALIBOUSE(Reuters)
Copyright DENIS BALIBOUSE(Reuters)
By Reuters
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GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States walked out of the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday to protest Venezuela assuming the rotating presidency of the U.N.-sponsored forum - as it did a year ago when Syria took the chair.

"We have to try to do what we can to prevent these types of states from presiding over international bodies," Robert Wood, U.S. disarmament ambassador, told reporters after leaving the session in Geneva.

"A representative of Juan Guaido, the interim president, should be in this body, should be sitting in that chair right now...The former (Nicolas) Maduro regime is in essence dead, it just doesn't want to lay down."

Maduro maintains control over Venezuela's state institutions, calls Guaido a puppet of Washington and blames U.S. sanctions for a hyperinflationary economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet)

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