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Foreign Secretary remains determined to secure Arms Trade Treaty

Foreign Secretary signals UK’s continued commitment to securing an Arms Trade Treaty following failure to reach consensus in the United Nations.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:

I am deeply disappointed that the negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty closed today without consensus. After 7 years of intensive work, the international community had never had a better chance to agree a global, legally binding Treaty that would make the world a safer place.

The UK has played a leading role and spared no effort to secure a Treaty which would be both strong and globally applied, based on consensus.

We have come very close. It is disappointing that three countries blocked the historic agreement that lay within our reach.

UK Ministers and officials in London, New York and in overseas capitals worked intensively to achieve the strongest possible outcome. I would like to thank everyone involved, including our close partners in civil society and industry, who have worked so hard together towards our common goal, and whose disappointment we share.

This Treaty is too important for us to let it end here. The overwhelming majority of the international community want this Treaty and we are determined to take it forward.

We will now focus our efforts on securing the adoption of the Treaty at the UN General Assembly as soon as possible. We will encourage the widest possible support for it, so that it delivers its promise of greater security, protecting human rights, challenging poverty and helping to secure sustainable development across the globe.

When adopted, this will be the first international, legally-binding Treaty setting controls on the transfers of weapons. It will prohibit transfers that would be used for genocide or war crimes. Arms exports will be refused if they pose unacceptable risks. Strong steps will be taken to prevent weapons being diverted into the illegal market. Authorisations of exports will be reported and arms brokering regulated. It will also protect the legitimate trade in arms and promote international collaboration.

The UK will not rest until we have secured an effective global Arms Trade Treaty.

Further Information

Read more about the Foreign Office policy: Countering weapons proliferation

Follow the UK Mission to the United Nations on Twitter: @UKUN_NewYork

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Published 29 March 2013