UN global arms treaty talks end without agreement

Mock graveyard set up by UN building in New York. 25 July 2012 Pro-treaty campaigners set up a mock graveyard for arms' victims near the UN building in New York

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Negotiations at the UN to achieve a landmark treaty to regulate the conventional arms trade have ended without agreement.

The US, followed by Russia and China, said they needed more time to consider the issues.

The BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN said it was a disheartening end to a month of intense negotiations.

However, the conference chairman said he was confident a treaty could be agreed by the end of the year.

Some delegates accused the US of bowing to domestic pressure from the powerful gun lobby in the run up to presidential elections, our correspondent says.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of 51 US senators threatened to oppose any agreement that infringed on the constitutional right to bear arms.

Despite the setback, conference chairman Roberto Garcia Moritan said the eventual adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was inevitable.

"I don't have any doubt, because there is a need," he said.

"We need a treaty and we will have a treaty."


  • United States
  • Russia
  • Germany
  • France
  • United Kingdom

Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was disappointed at the failure to agree on a treat and called it "a setback".

But he said he was encouraged that countries had agreed to continue pursuing a treaty and pledged his "robust" support.

The negotiations were the result of a six-year campaign by a coalition of non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International and Oxfam.

Amnesty Secretary-General Salil Shetty expressed frustration at the delay.

"With one person dying every minute because of armed violence, there is an imperative for powerful states to lead," he said.

"President Obama has asked for more time to reach an agreement. How much more time does he want?"

The text of the draft resolution is now likely to be sent back to the UN General Assembly in the autumn.

The global arms trade is estimated to be worth between $60bn and $70bn (£40-50bn) per year.

Some 750,000 people are killed by illicit weapons each year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I agree its not just an American problem.But the lack of sympathy,by these elected officals shown to the victims,who,began to be buried yesterday,shows an appalling lack of human empathy.They say Americans will die first,before giving up their Right To Bear Arms,and that is very true,unfortunately

  • Comment number 17.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Man's inhumanity towards man never astounds me. Why we have this inane need to kill each other like the middle ages is beyond me unless it is some bizarre population control tool manipulated from on high.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    14. Peter_Sym
    >>The USA is a democracy (sort of) and those 51 are saying what the people who keep them in power want to hear.

    The American mindset seems so binary, one that sees losing freedom to bear arms as communistic. Similarly the healthcare thing, they seem to see only a choice between "Devil take the hindmost" Capitalism and the worst sort of Stalinist communism: No middle way. Odd!

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    #12 To be fair this sort of massacre is hardly unique to the USA. Remember Derek Bird last year in Cumbria? The Aurora 'suspect' had also managed to make/obtain quite a lot of explosives and the 2nd amendment certainly doesn't allow that!

    The USA is a democracy (sort of) and those 51 are saying what the people who keep them in power want to hear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Yes this failure to agree about arms regulation is disappointing, but predictable, almost as predictable as the fact that there is no HYS of any substance today. Let alone any discussion where dissent about the Olympics might be voiced. Substantially less than 50% of Brits watched the opening which tells its own story. Anyone would think the BBC had a sole concession ... oh wait!

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    After just over a week after the Aurora massacre,( lets not put any spin on it,because that's what it was),it's good to see that 51 bi-partisan Senators,have finally grasped the nettle with both hands,upon the "Right To Bear Arms".Until America,deals with this rationally,more innocent people,will die,and continue to die needlessly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    8. biller101
    The US will never agree to this.
    The US never agrees to anything.Financial accounting standards, pollution protocols and of course anything that potentially interferes with the profits of US industry, no matter what the moral or ethical considerations are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    7. Ben Essada
    Take away the guns and tanks and people will go back to slaughtering one another with knives and axes.
    Which is pretty much what they DID do in Rwanda.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    I agree that this is a slanted bit of reporting and shows a lot of journalistic bias.
    The country with the most guns per head of population is Switzerland not the USA.
    Curtailing arms sales does not save lives because in most cases there is an excess of arms available already, ie AK-47s in Africa.
    The statistics quoted are as Peter Sym .No.2. stated, meaningless unless clarified.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The US will never agree to this. Lets face it they're through and through gun toting war mongering rednecks. As for China and Russia their human rights record is more like a wrap sheet for want of a better phrase.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Take away the guns and tanks and people will go back to slaughtering one
    another with knives and axes.

    In the old days they fought until they ran out of people. Today they
    fight until they run out of money (actually the body count is lower).

    You end war by persuading people not to fight. Not by banning 'things'.
    But that is way more difficult.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Sounds about right. People who are scared of being too left wing, defend shooting people in the name of 'freedom'.

    It's the same in the financial sector. You can't be 'left wing' and regulate the banks, tax avoidance and transactions, it's not good for freedom...?

    What about the freedom of those who die unnecessarily, and those who are starving and destitute?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    This is like asking an alcoholic to give up drinking.What a waste of time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The U.S. stated that key provisions of the treaty text are not strong enough, not that the U.S. needed more time. This article is incorrect, and of course it quotes only NGOs, not any government. This is bias and lazy reporting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    The US will NEVER agree to this because they have hyped their population up in to a frenzy with allegations that it will take their guns away. Personally I can't understand what their problem is, it's about time all countries were forced to keep track of the armaments they sell to, often dubious, foreigners. It may even prevent our own weapons being turned against us like in Afghanistan & Iraq.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Its worth correcting the BBC's league table of biggest arms exporters: thats based on sales in dollars not type or number of weapons sold. One $60 million Eurofighter sold to Saudi = 60 million $1 plastic landmines sold by China to Africa. The biggest killer in global conflicts are $50 AK47 copies made in South Asia & China. Those fuel every 3rd world war, not BAe Jet fighters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Why talks failed:

    "The global arms trade is estimated to be worth between $60bn and $70bn (£40-50bn) per year" = Big Price generates Big Profits for Big Countries and Big Important People

    "Some 750,000 people are killed by illicit weapons each year" = Small Price to pay because it is only Small Unimportant People who die anyway.


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