Conventional arms treaty advances in UN talks

By on Monday, July 18th, 2011

UN member states have made significant progress towards a global treaty to control the international sale of conventional weapons, France’s representative at the negotiations said Friday.

The Arms Trade Treaty focuses mainly on the trade of firearms, and not address nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The goal is for the treaty to be complete and adopted by July 1, 2012.

“We made a lot of progress during this week,” said Danon, speaking after the third official meeting of UN states negotiating the treaty.

“I am confident that there will be, after difficult negotiations, a treaty,” Danon said.

“The treaty will be a strong contribution to solve some of the key problems related to the circulation of arms in the world,” Danon added.

According to a source close to the talks, there is an agreement on 80 percent of the text.

The United States, which produces six billion bullets a year and is the world’s biggest conventional arms exporter, does not want ammunition sales included in the treaty — but the source was confident that obstacle could be overcome.

Separately, China does not want the treaty to cover small arms and light weapons.

But the source said the parties have agreed on the treaty framework and principles, and that a treaty would likely be reached by 2012.

When the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a treaty regulating conventional weapons, only the United States, then under president George W. Bush, voted against it.

However Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in October 2009 that the government of President Barack Obama would support talks leading to a treaty.

The United States, Russia, Britain, France and Israel produce 90 percent of new conventional weapons sold around the world.

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