US welcomes passage of arms treaty

Washington, April 4: Terming the passage of the Arms Trade Treaty by the UN General Assembly as "historic", US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday said this would establish a common international standard for the regulation of global trade in conventional arms.

He also added that it would also reduce the risk of use of these arms for crimes against humanity.

The treaty was on Wednesday passed by the UN General Assembly in New York by an overwhelming majority of 154 votes.

Three countries opposed the treaty, while 23 abstained including India, which argued that the text of the treaty resolution falls short of New Delhi's expectations in producing a text that is clear, balanced and implementable and able to attract universal adherence.

The treaty was put to vote at the UN General Assembly after 193 member countries failed to arrive at a consensus during the Arms Trade Treaty Conference that concluded last week due to opposition from three countries, Syria, North Korea and Iran.

"The treaty adopted today will establish a common international standard for the national regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and require all states to develop and implement the kind of systems that the United States already has in place," Kerry said in a statement.

"It will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world's worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes," he said.

"At the same time, the treaty preserves the principle that the international conventional arms trade is, and will continue to be, a legitimate commercial activity that allows nations to acquire the arms they need for their own security," Kerry said.

Kerry said by its own terms, this treaty applies only to international trade, and reaffirms the sovereign right of any state to regulate arms within its territory.

"As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment," he said.

The White House said the Obama Administration is also pleased at the UN General Assembly vote.

"We are pleased with the outcome of the conference, and the text achieves the objectives that we set out for in this negotiation," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

"We are pleased to join the consensus as is the case with all treaties of this nature, we will follow normal procedures to conduct a thorough review of the treaty text to determine whether to sign the treaty," he said.

But he remained non-committal when the administration would send the treaty to the Senate for ratification.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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