NEW YORK, March 29 (RIA Novosti) – Delegations from 193 UN member states failed to reach unanimity on the first international treaty establishing rules for cross-border conventional arms trade, due to objections from Iran, North Korea and Syria.
The three states have criticized the draft as “unbalanced” and giving an advantage to the world’s biggest weapons exporters.
The negotiations at the UN headquarters in New York lasted ten days. Peter Woolcott of Australia, who presides the Final UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), suspended the final session for last-minute consultations with the three nations.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today was “deeply disappointed” by the failure to agree on the treaty, according to a statement attributable to his spokesperson.
“The treaty had been within reach, thanks to the tireless work and spirit of compromise among Member States,” the statement reads.
Russian Foreign Ministry Security and Disarmament Department Director Mikhail Ulyanov said the treaty contained “no provisions that would be absolutely inadmissible” for Russia. He added, however, that it has “many loopholes” and other drawbacks, and thus requires improvement.
The document will be put to a General Assembly vote.
“We are set to thoroughly study this draft [treaty] in Moscow, and then we will decide on our stance toward it, including on whether we should join it,” he said.
The idea to establish standards for all cross-border transfers of conventional weapons was voiced by a group of Nobel Prize laureates in 1995, but the UN General Assembly started preparations for this year’s conference only in 2009.
According to the draft text, the treaty applies to all conventional arms, including not only small arms and light weapons, but also battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers.
It would also create binding requirements for nations to review all cross-border arms contracts to ensure arms will not be used in human rights abuses, terrorism or violations of humanitarian law.