Washington: Ahead of the upcoming conference beginning next week, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that he hopes the international community would be able to reach consensus on an Arms Trade Treaty that ensures global security and respects national sovereignty.
Kerry also warned that the US could only be party to an Arms Trade Treaty which addresses international transfers of conventional arms solely, and does not impose any new requirements on the US domestic trade in firearms or on US arms exporters.
"We will not support any treaty that would be inconsistent with US law and the rights of American citizens under our Constitution, including the Second Amendment," Kerry said on Friday in a statement ahead of the 10-day meeting beginning March 18.
Kerry asserted that US 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, but expressed concerns about illicit flow of arms across international borders.
"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. We support a treaty that will bring all countries closer to existing international best practices, which we already observe, while preserving national decisions to transfer conventional arms responsibly," Kerry said.
"The international conventional arms trade is, and will continue to be, a legitimate commercial activity. But responsible nations should have in place control systems that will help reduce the risk that a transfer of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world`s worst crimes, including those involving terrorism, and serious human rights violations," Kerry added.
Negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty was held at the United Nations in July 2012, which made considerable progress, but ended before a treaty could be concluded.
Accordingly, US supported a UN General Assembly resolution on December 24, 2012 to call the upcoming conference to build on those efforts, Kerry said.