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 118.

    ." ALL governments should bow to domestic pressure"
    This is a tricky one. Depend where the border is drawn. If people have the right to self-determination, they could group themselves as "the world" or as "the street". Which majority view should take priority - that of "the people of the world"(the UN) or "the street" (the activists given arms to break up "the town")

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    The conference wanted every state to give up arms if the others promised not to invade them if they did, and were surprised when the general consensus appeared to be "You first".

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    The defence industry is the biggest industry on earth and employs the most people, of course the US etc will never agree to this.

    Secondly the US never agrees to anything, selfish, greedy and obsessed with guns, yet there is still shock when someone goes on a rampage with a gun in the US, it's ridiculous

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    107voice of reason

    I would like the right to bear arms in the UK.

    With Cameron and Osbourne in charge for the next 3 years the crime rate and criminal nastiness is set to rise exponentially.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    @105 Dove

    There is something truly cowardly about land mines because they lay in wait for the unsuspecting, the innocent (today, tomorrow...).

    I feel that issues like this are not fully investigated due to the powerful behind the scene. It is too dangerous.

    40-50bn a year "estimated" worth - thats a lot of money, a lot of power and a lot to lose - very dangerous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    who is going to willingly give up their weapons??? false flag operations like the patsy james holmes incident isnt fooling anyone! It seems to have backfired, as now theres a huge surge in gun sales! Why shouldn't people protect themselves?? we can't have police everywhere!

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    Do any UN talks succeed?

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    I fail to see the problem. As an ex-soldier who served in BAOR amongst other places its peace through superior firepower hence the Warsaw pact never came across the German border. The better your weapons, the more your enemy hesitates. Simple human logic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    "accused the US of bowing to domestic pressure . . ." ALL governments should bow to domestic pressure. USA is a representative republic; we believe in democratic principles. The MAJORITY of Americans do not want the UN to infringe on our Constitution. There is a LOT of "domestic pressure" opposing this treaty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.


    "There is no hope of living a full free life without armed strength. In continents and regions where morality is non existent there can never be freedom and peace without the means of defence"

    Every one of the top suppliers. bar Germany, and China, has the means of obliterating any serious aggressor with WMD. This treaty is about regulating supply of conventional arms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    It's big business and will never stop. Arms manufacturing countries just use 3rd parties to distance themselves from the killings. The NATO permanent members are all selling arms, then have to interfere when it all goes wrong. That's politics for you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    I would like the right to bear arms in the UK.

    With Cameron and Osbourne in charge for the next 3 years the crime rate and criminal nastiness is set to rise exponentially.

    If two people break into my house at night I want the ability to remove that threat immediately.

    Hopefully, the idea that householders have arms would deter even the most cerebrally challenged miscreant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    The most interesting aspect is that Russia and China have no 'obvious' troops on the ground, anywhere, draining their homeland resources.

    Perhaps the rest of the world should learn from their soft power and exceptional ability to play global political chess?

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Landmines,2000 incidents each month-one every 20 minutes.
    Around 800 people will die,200 people will be maimed
    Roughly 240 people killed so far,and the death toll,is still rising...

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Nobody's defending Russia or China - their human rights credentials aren't great - but then they're less likely to be romping around the world invading other nations.
    In any case the US, is effectively, endorsing the harsh chinese regime by continuing to allow apple's it's pad workers to be subjected to awful working conditions.....good for massive profits though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Most of the arms trade is conducted by third parties, enabling our government (world's second largest arms exporter) to wash its hands of anything that might look a bit iffy.

    Example: When the Army adopted the SA80 rifle, thousands of the old L1A1 SLR rifle were sold off. Then our troops in Sierra Leone were being shot at with ex-UK rifles, supplied by some enterprising arms dealer. Nice work UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    What is the situation with land mines? Have they all been removed?

    I wonder what kind of mentality dreams up stuff like this in the first place.

    Global arms treaty....I very much doubt it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Billythefirst (86),

    Which reality is that? ...”

    That the data about the expanding or contracting of the U.S. economy is a function of the “U.S. War Economy” and that anti-idiot cherry picked data to support his position, ignoring the U.S. economy expansions between wars that refute it.

    That reality.

    Go back and read the posts with care, you’ll see that I’m correct.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    @83 'Testifier'
    Yes, there are more savage ways of killing than by firearms. Those with firearms, in certain countries, will not use them on their victims. Yet relish killing their victims, especially women and children, by the most unspeakable means too horrendous to post here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    The Chinese and Russians sell tons of weapons to African nations worth billions, the USA sell to pretty much anyone who will buy them, especially their own citizens!

    I would not hold your breath, that any change will come from further discussions.

    So long as there is conflict, someone will buy and sell weapons, profit has no consience.


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