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Global arms treaty needs ratification by 50 states


                         Testing a semi-automatic fireams Photo by Joseph Earnest


by Joseph Earnest June 3, 2013


Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.Germany will be one of the first countries to sign a new UN treaty regulating the global arms trade. The treaty takes effect once it has been ratified by 50 states - a process that could take up to two years. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is set to sign the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Monday in the US.

Westerwelle recently welcomed the landmark arms treaty, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in April, as a "milestone in global efforts to ensure arms controls and security."

Negotiations had failed twice before, due to resistance from countries including North Korea, Syria and Iran, as well as Russia, China and the United States.

The treaty will subject trade in conventional weapons, from guns to tanks, to strict rules. It prohibits the export of weapons if such trade violates arms embargoes or if the weapons could be used in genocide, crimes against humanity, by violent extremists or organized crime gangs. It calls for the establishment of national control systems to regulate the import and export of conventional arms, ammunition and weapon parts. It also controls arms dealers.

When, after the fall of the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, it was discovered that German assault rifles has got into the hands of his troops, it would have been easier to trace how they got there had such rules existed then..

Germany plans to ratify the ATT ahead of parliamentary elections in September. Ratification by 50 countries is required before the treaty can come into effect.

But, as well as the enthusiasm, there was some disillusionment when the Arms Trade Treaty was adopted in April. "I would have liked to have seen see more content and more restrictions," Rolf Mützenich, the foreign affairs spokesman of Germany's center-left Social Democrat parliamentary group, told DW. In particular, he said, the licensing process for arms exports, which remains in the hands of national governments, and verification of the controls were not fully clarified. "These are things that would have made such a treaty much stronger."

After the United States and Russia, Germany is the world's third-largest arms exporter, with a global market share of 7 percent. But, according to government figures, Germany exported 76.2 million euros worth of small arms in 2012 - twice as much as the year before. Among the recipients were Saudi Arabia, Lebanon or Iraq.       Add Comments>>

Source: Radio Deutsche Welle






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