3 April 2013, 19:10

UN General Assembly approves 1st global conventional arms trade treaty

генассамблея оон нью йорк сша заседание совещание

The UN General Assembly has adopted the first global treaty on the conventional arms trade. The vote was preceded by a difficult discussion.  Iran, North Korea and Syria even tried to block the document. Russia also expressed criticism about the document.

The treaty on the conventional arms trade adopted by the UN General Assembly introduces single rules of global arms trade turnover. It covers a wide range of weapons from the Kalashnikov assault rifles to armored vehicles and aircraft. The treaty’s main goal is to prevent illegal arms turnover. It bans turnover of conventional weapons violating embargos and existing sanctions, weapons’ supplies to the regimes which may use it for genocide, crimes against humanity military crimes and terrorist attacks.

It took several years to finalize the treaty. Several times the work was halted because of the positions of large arms exporters and importers. In March the final discussion of the document began in New York. The document was blocked by Iran, Syria and North Korea. These three countries, the West considers as the main threat to global security, found that the document was “unbalanced and “threatened their national interests”. As a result the Treaty was submitted to the UN General Assembly for approval.  On Tuesday, 154 countries backed the treaty 3 voted against and 23 countries abstained from vote.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said that the treaty’s adoption wasa  a historical achievement of diplomacy and culmination of many years’ attempts of the global community. UN General Assembly president Vuk Jeremic agrees with these statement.

"This is a significant event due to many reasons. Under the treaty arms exporters will be obliged to report on their arm sales and the transfer of the sold weapons. Before selling weapons they will be obliged to assess the risk that these weapons can be used for violation of human rights and international humanitarian law."

Russia abstained from vote. According Russia’s permanent envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin the treaty fails to meet the standards which are applied in Russia and many other countries to such documents. For example the current treaty does not ban supplies of weapons to unauthorized non-state subjects and its humanitarian criteria for risk assessment are not efficient. This may lead to the situations that certain states can interpret the treaty in line with their political purposes.

Whatever it is the UN member states are to ratify the document.  In order to come into effect the document must find final approval at least in 50 countries. According to experts’ estimates it will take about 2 years.

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