September 25th was a strong day for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Gabon, Chad and the Republic of Congo joined other states who signed the ATT at the UN headquarters during the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Their signatures brought the total number of African states who have signed the treaty to 29, or approximately 60% of the region.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba signed the ATT on behalf of Gabon. Control Arms campaigner, Nounou Booto Meeti, commented,

“I welcome the signing of the ATT by Gabon. I urge Gabon to set an example in Central Africa by ratifying the treaty as soon as possible for a safer world and a safer Africa.” Gabon has always played an active role in the international arms control community.

In 2010, Gabon initiated a proposal about the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons in the Central African Sub-region aiming to eliminate arms already present in conflict zones and deter the flow of new arms into conflict areas. The specific proposal included, among others, the strengthening of regional mechanisms on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, improving regional legal instruments and increasing transparency.

Moussa Faki Mahamat , the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad, signed the ATT on behalf of his government. PGA Member Dep. Théophile Madjitoloum Yombombe (Chad) remarked:

“I am very happy to see that Chad signed the Arms Trade Treaty last week. Having participated in pushing for a signature, I have come to realize the importance of this signature for my country, the African continent, and on the international level.

Today, I congratulate and urge my government to ratify the ATT as quickly as possible in order to make this treaty a reality. This would avoid a great loss of innocent lives and vulnerable groups on a global scale.”

Therefore, Chad’s signature marks a step in the direction of long-term peace and stability.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Congo, Mr. Basile Ikouebe signed the Treaty as well, marking a positive step forward for a country that has been plagued by civil wars and militia conflicts for many years. Joining the ATT community will complement Congo’s other international responsibilities and relationship with the international community.

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