Iran, Syria and North Korea have blocked on Thursday the adoption UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, a proposal to regulate the global weapons trade.
Reports say the three countries rejected the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, saying that the document was flawed and the proposal failed to prevent a surge of weapons sales to rebel groups.
Iran, North Korea and Syria are all currently under some form of UN arms sanctions.
Media reports say the UN arms trade treaty supposedly would regulate the multibillion-dollar international arms trade which required agreement by all 193 U.N. member states.
Why Iran, North Korea, and Syria reject the treaty?
According to Assistant Secretary Thomas M. Countryman for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation UN, he doesn’t want to speculate on the exact reasons that the three delegations Iran, Syria, North Korea gave.
However, Mr. Countryman points out that they’ve made their statements and the treaty is supported by the overwhelming majority of states who affirm the principle of the United Nations.
“These three states have suffered at various times from sanctions imposed by the United Nations for their unwillingness to live up to the principles of the UN Charter.” – Mr. Countryman
He thinks their isolation from the rest of the international community speaks for itself in terms of their respect for the United Nations and for a transparent arms trade.
The Treaty Fails To Reach Concensus
Assistant Secretary Countryman said the United States regrets that it was not possible to reach consensus at this conference on an Arms Trade Treaty.
“Such a treaty would promote global security, it would advance important humanitarian objectives, and it would affirm the legitimacy of the international trade in conventional arms.” – Mr. Countryman
He says over two weeks of hard negotiations, states reached a text that was meaningful, that was implementable, a text that did not touch in any way upon the Constitutional rights of American citizens, a text that the United States could support.
The US looks forward to this text being adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in the very near future.
A vote is expected in the General Assembly as early as next week.
According to Mr. Countryman, the United States will vote in favor and he thinks an overwhelming majority of states will vote in favor.
UN Arms Trade Treaty Impact On World Trade, American Industry, American Sales?
According to Mr. Countryman, the effect on world trade and world violence is difficult to measure, but he does not expect it would be immediate.
He thinks that over time as more states take action not only to have more effective controls on their own legal exports but also, as this treaty calls for, take more effective action against black market arms brokers and cooperate against the diversion of weapons, it will contribute to a reduction of violence.
“That’s certainly the motivation of the overwhelming support among African nations for this treaty.” – Mr. Countryman
In terms of the effect on the American industry, Mr. Countryman believes it will be positive in that currently the United States already has the highest standard in the world for regulating the export of conventional arms.
This treaty will bring much of the rest of the world not up to the American standards, but much closer to the American standards, he added.
And in that sense, he believes it levels the playing field and gives American manufacturers a better competitive position in the world.
US Only Supports Arms Trade Treaty Consistent With US Laws
With the final round of negotiations from March 18 to 28 to reach consensus on an Arms Trade Treaty, the United States of America has voiced conditional US support for the UN arms trade treaty.
In his remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry says the US United States could only be party to an Arms Trade Treaty that addresses international transfers of conventional arms solely and does not impose any new requirements on the U.S. domestic trade in firearms or on U.S. exporters.
The United States is the world’s No. 1 arms manufacturer. However, Secretary Kerry highlighted that US would not accept any treaty that imposed new limits on US citizens’ right to bear arms.
US Supports the Arms Trade Treaty
Secretary Kerry says the United States looks forward to working with its international partners at the upcoming conference from March 18-28 to reach consensus on an Arms Trade Treaty that advances global security and respects national sovereignty and the legitimate arms trade.
The US supported and actively participated in negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty held at the United Nations in July 2012.
He notes the negotiations made considerable progress, but ended before a treaty could be concluded.
US Calls For Effective Treaty That Improves Global Security
Secretary Kerry says the United States is steadfast in its commitment to achieve a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty that helps address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability.
He cites an effective treaty recognizes that each nation must tailor and enforce its own national export and import control mechanisms can generate the participation of a broad majority of states, help stem the illicit flow of conventional arms across international borders, and have important humanitarian benefits.
He points out that while the international arms trade affects every country, over one hundred states today do not have a system for control of international conventional arms transfers.
More Accountability, Openness, Transparency
193 Member States seek to reach agreement on an Arms Trade Treaty.
The UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) started on 18 March in New York which brings Member States together to continue negotiations on what is seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the UN.
The UN asserts that adoption of the ATT “is the only path to more accountability, openness and transparency in the arms trade.”
According to the UN, at the end of 2010, an estimated 27.5 million people were internally displaced as a result of conflict, while millions more sought refuge abroad. The world body reports that the armed violence that drove people from their homes was fuelled by the widespread availability and misuse of weapons.
Previously, four weeks of negotiations ended in July 2012 without agreement.