Progress on UN call for arms trade treaty

UNITED NATIONS - Most of the world's major weapons exporters, including the United States, supported a UN resolution Friday that calls for a treaty aimed at strengthening controls on the international arms trade.
The UN General Assembly's first committee on disarmament and peace passed the resolution calling for a treaty by 153 votes to one, with 19 abstentions. Only Zimbabwe voted against it.

Progress on UN call for arms trade treaty
The General Assembly itself is expected to adopt the resolution before the end of the year, the culmination of years of discussion and debate.
The resolution establishes a schedule for laying out a treaty on the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons.
It "decides to convene the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in 2012... to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms."
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in 2006 calling for such a treaty, but the United States, the world's biggest exporter of weaponry, voted against it, the only country to do so.
But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated on October 16 that Washington would now support a strong treaty and was prepared to use a UN conference to promote it.
Friday's resolution drew praise from advocates of stricter controls on arms trade.
"All countries participate in the conventional arms trade and share responsibility for the 'collateral damage' it produces -- widespread death, injuries and human rights abuses," said Rebecca Peters, director of the International Action Network on Small Arms.
"Now finally governments have agreed to negotiate legally binding global controls on this deadly trade," she said.

Saturday, October 31st 2009

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