Arms Trade Treaty Regional Actor Handbook

Middle East

  • League of Arab States (LAS)

League of Arab States (LAS)

Region: Middle East

Headquarters: Cairo, Egypt

Type of Organization:

Regional Integration

Number of Members:

22 members (including Syria,
which is currently suspended)


Proportion of RO Members that are ATT States Parties: 13% (3 out of 22)


Proportion of RO Members that are ATT Signatories: 22% (5 out of 22)

List of members:
Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

About the Organization

The Arab League is an intergovernmental pan-Arab organization of all Arab states in the Middle East and North Africa, established in Cairo on March 22, 1945, following the adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944.


ATT Support

As support for the ATT remains low in this region, the direct involvement of the Arab League in the implementation and universalization of the Treaty is likewise limited. However, in 2013, the LAS organized, in Cairo, a preparation meeting ahead of the final UN Conference negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, with a view to coordinating Arab positions on disarmament issues.²⁵³ Also in 2013 in Cairo, as part of an agreement between the League of Arab States and the German Federal Foreign Office to build capacity of LAS staff, a workshops on SALW control and Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs) addressed several topics including developments in SALW control at the international level within the framework of the ATT.²⁵⁴

Establishing Transfer Controls

National control systems
As demonstrated by the adoption of the Model Law, the Arab League has been much more focused on supporting Member States in implementing the UNPoA, rather than the ATT. In this regard, in 2016, as part of the project “Promoting international instruments of arms control in the Middle East and North Africa”, the League of Arab States in cooperation with the Permanent Peace Movement organized the symposium “Combating Illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Arab Region: Developments, Challenges and Best Practices”, held in Cairo, Egypt.²⁵⁵

Since 2019, with support from the EU, LAS provided assistance to LAS Member States in building their national capacities to combat the illicit trade in, and proliferation of, small arms and light weapons.²⁵⁶ The project seeks to supports LAS Member States with the national implementation of the UNPoA and the International Tracing Instrument, the development of export/import/transit/licensing controls and the prevention of diversion of small arms to unauthorized recipients, as well as identification and disruption of sources of illicit small arms (capacity building for law enforcement agencies).²⁵⁷

The project, which to date has been implemented with support from Small Arms Survey, Interpol and the World Customs Organization, has also facilitated three needs-assessment missions in the United Arab  mirates (UAE), Jordan, and Morocco in 2019, a subregional workshop to exchange information and best practices on illicit small arms, held in the UAE, in 2020, and training courses provided to nine LAS States.²⁵⁸ The EU approved the continuation of this project until 2024²⁵⁹ to allow LAS to build on these initial efforts, including to expand the capacity building assistance to LAS states which did not yet benefit from training courses during phase one of the project.²⁶⁰

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