Talks on arms treaty at UN fail to reach decision

The Vatican has backed efforts to draft a landmark international treaty to control the $NZ74 billion arms industry, but discussions by more than 170 countries ended without a decision.

Diplomats said the door is still open for further talks, with the possibility of a draft arms treaty being brought to the United Nations General Assembly for a vote by the end of the year.

While most UN members states favoured a strong arms treaty during month-long talks in New York, a small minority — including Syria, North Korea, Iran, Egypt and Algeria — opposed global arms control.

But arms-control activists ultimately blamed the United States and Russia for the inability to reach a decision, as both these nations said there was not enough time left for them to clarify and resolve issues they had with the draft arms treaty.

The Vatican’s involvement in discussions was problematic from the outset, since its delegation — along with that of the Palestinians — was denied recognition as a full member.

Nevertheless, the Vatican’s Archbishop Francis Chullikatt made clear his delegation’s “abiding support for addressing illicit flows of arms”.

“The Holy See continues to believe that an arms trade treaty can make an important difference for millions of people confronted with insecurity, deprivation and fear linked to the unregulated and irresponsible transfer of arms and ammunition, and the illicit acquisition of such by criminal and unauthorised non-state actors,” he said.

“The treaty would help also in the promotion of a world more respectful of human life and human dignity.”

Archbishop Chullikatt advocated stronger provisions to help victims of armed conflicts, by requiring states to offer or receive assistance for their “care, rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration”.

Sources:

Vatican Radio

Reuters

AlertNet

Image: Dawn.com

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