The United States will be withdrawing its signature from the Arms Trade Treaty, US President Donald Trump has announced.
"My administration will never ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty. I'm officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America's signature from this badly misguided treaty. We're taking our signature back. I will sign…a message asking the Senate to discontinue the treaty ratification process", Trump said, speaking in Indianapolis on Friday to members of the National Rifle Association, a powerful pro-gun lobby.
The UN would soon be receiving a formal notice of withdrawal, Trump noted.
The US signed on to the international treaty in 2013, but never ratified it amid opposition from gun rights activists and lawmakers in Congress.
Amnesty International blasted Trump's decision, saying that quitting the treaty would make it easier for terrorists to obtain weapons. "The treaty requires governments to assess the risk of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law before they authorise an arms deal in order to prevent weapons from being irresponsibly used in brutal conflicts, by organised crime or funneled to terrorists," the right group stated in a press release.
An administration official said that Washington would consult with allies in the coming days regarding the US withdrawal from the treaty, with the US hoping that other countries may adapt US standards.
The Arms Trade Treaty formally seeks to regulate the global conventional arms trade, including the monitoring of exports to ensure that they don't cross arms embargo lines or make their way into the hands of human rights abusers or terrorists. About 100 states have signed and ratified the treaty, with 34 others signing but not ratifying, with dozens more not signing.
Along with Russia and the US, the treaty has not been signed or ratified by countries including Algeria, Bolivia, Belarus, Canada, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Pakistan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Vietnam, and over a dozen other states.