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UN closes in on treaty regulating $99b conventional arms trade

Published on Mar 29, 2013 1:03 AM

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The 193 countries that make up the United Nations closed in on Thursday on the first-ever global treaty to regulate the US$80 billion (S$99 billion) a year conventional arms trade.

Rights groups say the proposed accord is too weak, but Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said it is "time for all countries to rally round (the) strong president's text". Talks have been held on the treaty since 2006 after years of pressure for measures to restrain a trade that rights groups say is fuelling conflict, terrorism and crime around the globe.

The UN estimates that 500,000 people a year are killed in armed violence.

The treaty would cover tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers and small arms and light arms. It would aim to force countries to assess whether the sale of a weapon could be used for genocide, war crimes or by terrorists or organised crime gangs.

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