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 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 48.

    I'm no historian, nor wish to criticise Amendments to the American Constitution.

    However, when the right to bear arms was written - they didn't foresee the sophistication of weapons, yet to be invented, to fall into the hands of civilians so easily to use against each other?

    I expect they would be turning in their graves at the attrocities due to powerful weapons available to anyone who can pay.

  • 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 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 31.

    I think this effort at arms-trade treaty is worth it, even if the UN failed to agree.

    Any effort to raise awareness is good. The difficulty remaining is that billions in international aid, to certain countries, allows their corrupt leaders to spend that money on weapons supplied via third parties?

    As for a civilian in America able to buy a machine gun off the shelf is beyond comprehension!


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