The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 28, 2013

Optimism in UN over 1st global arms trade treaty

(Continued)

Senator Lyndira Oudit of Trinidad and Tobago, a member of Parliamentarians for Global Action for a robust treaty, complained that the initial text was weak and had too many loopholes, but she said the final draft was stronger, had "some teeth," and "would be supported."

Oxfam's Macdonald said the scope of the weapons covered in the latest draft is still too narrow.

It covers battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons. The phrase stating that this list was "at a minimum" was dropped, according to diplomats at the insistence of the United States.

"We need a treaty that covers all conventional weapons, not just some of them," Macdonald said. "We need a treaty that will make a difference to the lives of the people living in Congo, Mali, Syria and elsewhere who suffer each day from the impacts of armed violence."

Ammunition has been a key issue, with some countries pressing for the same controls on ammunition sales as arms, but the U.S. and others opposed such tough restrictions. The draft calls for each country that ratifies the treaty to establish regulations for the export of ammunition "fired, launched or delivered" by the weapons covered by the convention.

The Control Arms coalition and diplomats from countries that support them, said this wouldn't cover hand grenades and mines.

India and other countries had insisted that the treaty have an opt-out for government arms transfers under defense cooperation agreements. The new text appears to keep that loophole, stating that implementation of the treaty "shall not prejudice obligations" under defense cooperation agreements by countries that ratify the treaty.

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