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Seven Foreign Ministers call for Arms Trade Treaty now

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

The Foreign Secretary William Hague joined Foreign Ministers from six other countries to call for a universal Arms Trade Treaty.

Countries of the world gathered at the UN in July 2012 to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty but the conference could not reach an agreement. The final conference to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty began this week at the UN in New York.

On the 18th March the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom released a joint statement calling for a comprehensive and universal Treaty.

Joint Foreign Ministers statement

We are today starting negotiations with the aim of finalising the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations. Our efforts have continued for seven years. Now it is time to have the Treaty. It is long overdue.

On average a man, woman or child dies every minute as a result of armed violence. Two thirds of them die in countries that are not officially in conflict. The unregulated trade in conventional arms undermines peace, security, stability and human rights. There are far more harmless commodities that are more regulated than the trade in conventional arms. It is high time to correct this situation.

We have a unique opportunity to secure a robust and legally binding Treaty in the next nine days. To make a real difference, we need a comprehensive and universal Treaty that can be effectively implemented. This conference offers us an historic opportunity to secure the necessary international consensus behind such a Treaty.

We call for positive engagement from all. We need flexibility and commitment from everyone in order to secure a Treaty which will save lives and reduce human suffering, and to bring transparency and consistency to the global arms trade whose legacy will endure for generations to come.

Further Information

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt spoke about the need for a strong Arms Trade Treaty during side meetings at the UN ATT conf

Alistair Burt wrote to Amnesty International about the UK’s Governments efforts to secure an Arms Trade Treaty.

Read about the Foreign Office’s work countering weapons proliferation

Follow the UK Mission to the United Nations on twitter @UKUN_NewYork