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UN arms trade treaty fails to get approval

Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked adoption of a UN treaty that aimed to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade for the first time.

Zeenews Bureau

United Nations: In a major setback to the international community, Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked adoption of a UN treaty that aimed to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade for the first time.

Reports on Friday said that the three countries opposed the UN treaty, saying it fails to ban sales to terrorists. However, other nations refused to let the UN treaty die.

The treaty`s adoption required agreement by all 193 UN member states, but some countries said that they would ask Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to bring the final draft before the General Assembly for adoption as soon as possible.

Observers say that final draft on the global arms trade treaty could be brought as soon as Tuesday.

"This is not failure," British Ambassador Jo Adamson said. "Today is success deferred, and deferred by not very long," he added.

For more than a decade, activists and some governments have been pushing for international rules to regulate the estimated $60 billion US global arms trade and try to keep illicit weapons out of the hands of terrorists, insurgent fighters and organized crime.

After two weeks of intensive negotiations, many delegates had been optimistic that consensus was within reach, but Iran, North Korea and Syria announced they could not support the treaty.
Both Iran and North Korea are under UN arms embargoes over their nuclear programs, while Syria is in the third year of a conflict that has escalated to civil war.

Amnesty International said all three countries "have abysmal human rights records -- having even used arms against their own citizens."

This was the second attempt in eight months to get countries with very different interests behind an Arms Trade Treaty.

Hopes of reaching agreement were dashed in July when the U.S. said it needed more time to consider the proposed accord — a move quickly backed by Russia and China. In December, the U.N. General Assembly decided to hold a final conference and set Thursday as the deadline.
“UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is confident that the Arms Trade Treaty will come to pass and is encouraged by the shared determination to make this happen as soon as possible,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

US deputy representative Dan Mahley said that the Washington supported the proposed treaty as "fair and balanced" and looked forward to its quick adoption by the General Assembly.

The UN Secretary-General did not immediately address the request but expressed deep disappointment at the failure to agree on a treaty text.

With Agency Inputs