UN members move toward arms trade treaty

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UNITED NATIONS – UN member states agreed Friday on steps to move toward completion in July of a global treaty limiting the global arms trade, participants in a preparatory meeting said.

The comments came after the final preparatory meeting ahead of the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty set for July 2 to 27 in New York.

“The negotiations will steam ahead in July,” said Brian Wood of Amnesty International, one of the non-government groups pressing for the treaty.

“There is still some doubt about China and Russia, they don’t want strong criteria.”

Most of the world’s major weapons exporters, including the United States, agreed in 2009 a UN resolution that calls for a treaty aimed at strengthening controls on the international trade in conventional weapons.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in 2006 calling for such a treaty, but the United States, the world’s biggest exporter of weaponry, voted against it, the only country to do so.

But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has indicated that Washington would now support a strong treaty and was prepared to use a UN conference to promote it.

EU nationals are pressing for strict limits, according to participants, who noted that Iran, Pakistan and Egypt were seeking fewer limitations.

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