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 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 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 93.

    Weapons are not the problem ; the problem is that unless you have more and better than your neighbour , whether it be the next door state or the nearest other tribe . 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 , however peaceful your intentions may be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    The gun laws in the USA are the business of the USA and not the citizens of the UK or anywhere else.

    It is obvious that arms maunufacturers and dealers are wealthy and influential and will try to scupper any agreements about reducing or "banning" arms.

    Once again we are on the "saving lives" kick on this HYS. If we saved every possible "life" where would everyone fit in this overcrowded world?

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Governments & arms brokers contribute to crimes against humanity; they do this by selling guns & ammo into conflict zones. They are allowed to do this because they are not violating any international law & are often outside the jurisdiction of national laws. This loophole in the fabric of international security can & must be fixed - I guess in the autumn, or by Christmas, or whenever…


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