The seat of the US delegation is empty in protest against the presidency of Venezuela during the Conference on Disarmament at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. Picture: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP

Geneva - The United States walked out of the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday to protest Venezuela assuming the rotating presidency of the UN-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, US 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 US sanctions for a hyperinflationary economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis. 

Venezuela's Ambassador Jorge Valero, President of the Conference on Disarmament, delivers a speech, during the Conference on Disarmament, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. Picture: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP
Reuters