Progress towards world arms trade treaty at UN

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 24, 2010 03:00

 
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UNITED NATIONS — The world's nations  took the first steps at a conference that ended Friday toward a legally binding treaty that would try to regulate the multibillion dollar arms trade and prevent the transfer of weapons to armed groups fueling conflicts, terrorists and human rights violators.

When the conference began two weeks ago in the 192-member General Assembly, many delegates were uncertain whether there would be wide support for a treaty regulating a trade which French Ambassador Eric Danon said has been veiled in secrecy for 2,000 years because arms trading is a matter of sovereignty and the weapons are "the symbol of life and death."

The main achievement of the conference, Danon said Friday, is that "the principle of an Arms Trade Treaty is now agreed by all the countries, even if some countries make reservations on some aspects."

The United States, Britain and the European Union also praised the outcome of the conference and even Pakistan, which was singled out by many diplomats as being most vocal in questioning the need for a treaty, appeared to sign on.

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