On October 15th, members of the Control Arms coalition met with members of the press to discuss the current status of the Arms Trade Treaty and the threats posed to the process by politics, rules of procedure, and the potential for the continued use of veto power.
The Arms Trade Treaty talks came to an abrupt end on the final day of negotiations in July after the US government demanded to have “more time” to conclude a deal. Since then, countries have been discussing the way forward, including rules under which the next diplomatic conference should be negotiated. The co-author governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Kenya, Costa Rica, Finland and Argentina have led the resolution which maintains the right of any member of the United Nations membership to veto agreement when the conference is due to reconvene next year.

“By insisting on this one rule, governments are reducing their chances of a successful outcome before talks even start. We saw the impact of this rule in July when the US, followed by a small number of countries, prevented the conclusion of a successful conference despite having a majority of states that were then in favour of agreeing for a robust treaty”, said Hector Guerra Network Coordinator of the International Action Network On Small Arms. “We cannot have the next conference taken hostage by any one country.”

The panel which included Jeff Abramson (Director, Control Arms), Anna Macdonald (Head of Arms Control, Oxfam), and Hector Guerra (Coordinator, International Action Network on Small Arms) also highlighted prominent gaps in the draft treaty text that need to be corrected to ensure the Arms Trade Treaty saves lives and protects livelihoods.

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