Nations gather for final UN arms trade treaty negotiations
UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - Negotiators from around 150 countries gathered in New York on Monday for a final push to hammer out a binding international treaty to end unregulated conventional arms sales, a pact that a powerful United States (US) pro-gun lobby is urging Washington to reject.
Arms control campaigners and human rights advocates say one person every minute dies worldwide as a result of armed violence, and that a treaty is needed to halt the uncontrolled flow of weapons and ammunition that they argue helps fuel wars, atrocities and rights abuses.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly voted in December to relaunch negotiations this week on what could become the first global treaty to regulate the world's US$70 billion (S$87.4 billion) trade for all conventional weapons - from naval ships, tanks and attack helicopters to handguns and assault rifles - after a drafting conference in July 2012 collapsed because the US, then Russia and China, wanted more time.
Delegates to the July conference said Washington had wanted to push the issue past the November 2012 presidential election, though the administration of President Barack Obama denied that.