The Straits Times
Published on Dec 25, 2012

UN approves new debate on arms treaty opposed by US gun lobby


UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - The United Nations (UN) General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Monday to restart negotiations on a draft international treaty to regulate the US$70 billion (S$85.4 billon) global trade in conventional arms, a pact the powerful United States National Rifle Association (NRA) has been lobbying hard against.

UN delegates and gun control activists have complained that talks collapsed in July largely because US President Barack Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney before the Nov 6 election if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, a charge US officials have denied.

The NRA, which has come under intense criticism for its reaction to the Dec. 15 shooting massacre of 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, opposes the idea of an arms trade treaty and has pressured Mr Obama to reject it.

But after his re-election last month, his administration joined other members of a UN committee in supporting the resumption of negotiations on the treaty.