Ban salutes 'historic' UN arms treaty

NEW YORK (AFP) - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon hailed Tuesday's adoption of a landmark global arms treaty as a milestone that would help prevent human rights abuses.

"It is a historic diplomatic achievement - the culmination of long-held dreams and many years of effort. This is a victory for the world's people," Mr Ban said in a statement.

"It will be a powerful new tool in our efforts to prevent grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.

"And it will provide much-needed momentum for other global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts." The UN General Assembly earlier Tuesday adopted the first-ever accord to regulate the US$80-billion-a-year (S$99 billion-a-year) conventional arms trade.

It aims to force countries to set up national controls on arms exports.

States would also have to assess whether a weapon could be used for genocide, war crimes or by terrorists or organized crime before it is sold.