ATT 2nd PrepCom Summaries: March 2, 2011 (PM Session)

April 13 2011, 10:15 AM by sameerkanal

This post is the sixth in a series summarizing the statements given at the Second PrepCom for the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, held February 28-March 4, 2011 in New York. For more information on states’ positions, please visit our “Mapping the Arms Trade Treaty” project at

Wednesday, 3/2/2011, Afternoon Session

Japan addressed both activities and criteria in their statement. On activities to be included in the treaty’s scope, Japan supported the inclusion of inter-state crossing of the arms, finding the regulation of title or ownership transfer to be difficult to implement. Regarding criteria, Japan agreed that any criteria included should be applied in all cases, setting out ‘a legally binding obligation for the state parties.’

Nicaragua believed that the ATT should focus on ‘the prevention and combating of illicit trafficking in arms.’ Believing that an agreement on the treaty’s primary goal was necessary to determine scope and parameters, Nicaragua called for an acceptance of this goal as well. Nicaragua supported ‘those delegations who support the inclusion of munitions in addition to the UN Categories of weapons.’ On international cooperation and assistance, Nicaragua wanted the treaty to include provisions for the granting of ‘technical, material and financial assistance’ to states in need. Nicaragua closed its statement by calling for the ATT to be drafted and adopted on a consensus basis.

Malaysia stated that they were ‘amenable to these so-called 7+1 arrangements,’ regarding the treaty’s scope including the seven categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms as well as Small Arms and Light Weapons only. Malaysia called for the Chairman’s non-paper on scope [February 2011 version] to be revised in its definitions of the seven categories to be in line with the register’s definitions. Regarding activities, Malaysia supported the inclusion of import, export and transfer, stating that they needed more time to study the possible inclusion of other categories. Regarding parameters, Malaysia objected to the list of information sources for use in determining if transfers would meet the listed criteria.

Canada asserted that the treaty’s purpose ‘is to establish common international standards for the regulation of arms transfers through export control mechanisms.’ Canada believed that the standards needed to be relatively high, but were also a floor, agreeing with the United States’ statement in this regard. Canada supported the inclusion of technology and equipment only if it was able to be used solely for weapons production and development, wishing ‘dual use technology’ to be excluded as it might inhibit development. Canada called also for revision and clarity in defining brokering before it agreed or disagreed with the inclusion of brokering in the list of regulated activities.

Burundi spoke on behalf of the East African Community, consisting of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. The EAC supported the inclusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) as well as ammunition in the ATT. With regards to international cooperation and assistance, the EAC agreed fully with the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version]. Burundi agreed with the Norwegian statement that the arms trade, as ‘poorly regulated’ as it currently is, costs lives, and thus supported the inclusion of ‘clear language on victim assistance.’ Finally, Burundi supported the inclusion of monitoring mechanisms, which when defined should also include ‘the means to follow-up closely on the illicit transfer of arms.’

Spain strongly supported the inclusion of munitions, making no differentiation between the concept of munitions and of ammunition in arguing for the inclusion of both in the treaty. Spain did not support the exception for sporting and hunting weapons in the treaty, and in fact did not support exceptions, instead preferring a ‘positive definition of the scope.’ Spain also argued for the inclusion of text related to violence against women using conventional weapons.

The Netherlands argued for choosing regulated items under the treaty’s scope based on what fits the treaty, not solely taking or adapting the UN Register on Conventional Arms’ categories because the register’s purpose was different from that of the ATT. The Netherlands argued in favor of the inclusion of technology transfer, agreeing with Sweden that it would help ‘improve and increase cooperation with defense industries.’ The Netherlands opposed the regulation of ‘dual use items’ that were capable of non-military uses, but supported the inclusion of parts and components. The Netherlands also opposed the inclusion of stockpiling and of ‘illegal activities like illegal brokering.’

Nigeria (ECOWAS)
Nigeria argued in favor of including explosives in the treaty’s scope, as well as reiterating their support for ammunition. Nigeria asserted that ‘a weapon is only a weapon when there is ammunition inserted.’ Similarly, Nigeria argued for the inclusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the treaty’s scope. Regarding criteria, Nigeria supported the change in wording from ‘should’ to ‘shall’ in all cases to make the treaty’s parameters more binding. Nigeria strongly supported the inclusion of the parameter on socio-economic development, poverty reduction and sustainable development. Nigeria was open to consideration of corruption, but undecided, calling its inclusion ‘a two-edged sword.’

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso gave special consideration to the question of international cooperation, because they found it ‘closely linked to the scope of application and the parameters and criteria.’ Burkina Faso believed that intent and effort would not necessarily be sufficient to implement the treaty fully, and that states could be assisted in overcoming difficulties in their ‘monitoring and control system.’ Burkina Faso looked at regional assistance mechanisms and called for these to serve as inspirations for the future ATT’s section on assistance. Burkina Faso also called for cooperation with civil society on implementation. Finally, Burkina Faso expressed their strong support for the inclusion of victim assistance in the treaty.

Zambia defined the ‘the purpose of our negotiations [as ensuring] that arms transfers are well regulated to enhance human security,’ which they argued would lead in turn to economic development. Zambia supported prevention of transfers that would be used to violate international humanitarian law or international human rights law. With regards to international cooperation and assistance, Zambia argued for the assistance to focus on increasing capacity of states party. Zambia argued that ‘bridg[ing] the large variance in international capacity for states party to the treaty’ was vital ‘to ensure effective implementation,’ and thus endorsed international cooperation and assistance as a primary aim of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Egypt began by asserting that numerous delegations were repeating themselves, implying that the goal of this was to push their beliefs for future non-papers issued by the Chairman. Egypt reminded all delegations that they respected others’ views and expected the same in return, also noting that the views of other delegations would not affect their ‘red lines,’ or unchangeable positions. One red line highlighted by the Egyptian delegate was ammunition; Egypt said they could not support its inclusion in the treaty. Egypt stressed that finding consensus required compromise and stressed that they were open to finding compromise on a variety of issues. Finally, Egypt noted that the mandate given by relevant resolutions to this PrepCom process did not include references to a variety of issues being discussed, including women and gender.

Chile spoke about the importance of criteria and parameters to be strong in order to effectively regulate the arms trade, and also about the need for criteria to be objective and non-discriminatory. Chile argued that a balance must be found between these two interests to ensure the treaty’s success. Chile also asserted that the goal of the treaty should be ‘to ensure that weapons are not diverted to illicit trade.’

The Bahamas promoted an ATT which would ‘regulate all aspects of trade of arms, whether legal or illegal.’ The Bahamas strongly supported the inclusion of SALW and ammunition in the treaty’s scope. Regarding implementation, the Bahamas endorsed Trinidad and Tobago’s suggestion that a state party-funded secretariat be created by the ATT. Finally, on international cooperation and assistance, the Bahamas supported the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version] and also noted that their own implementation could only be successfully achieved with international cooperation and assistance to aid their national efforts.

Syria was concerned about the possibility of creation of ‘a new international order which would impose new restrictions.’ Syria reaffirmed its statements that the ATT should be non-discriminatory as well, specifically with regards to technology transfer by maintaining its allowed status. Syria supported international cooperation and assistance only with the consent of the state it was to affect. Additionally, Syria supported the creation of a fund for victim assistance, and called for the Chairman to include it in future non-papers related to the subject.

Spain began their statement by responding to Egypt, who had singled out their speech in particular in their own critique of repetition by states of previously-articulated regional positions. Spain noted that they had not spoken previously on scope, and also that they agreed on one point and disagreed with another made by Egypt. The point upon which they agreed was that consensus should be the ultimate goal. Spain was grateful that Egypt shared this view, and committed itself to seeking consensus in the negotiation process. They disagreed with Egypt on the point related to violence against women. Spain believed that ‘we shouldn’t close the door to new dimensions, new aspects’ for the treaty that were not included in the original resolutions’ mandates.

Iran reiterated its wish to resolve the question of the treaty’s objectives and principles prior to focusing on scope and parameters. Iran questioned whether the nature of the treaty would be ‘similar to the disarmament and nonproliferation treaties, or humanitarian treaties, or treaties regulating trade.’ Iran asserted that once this was resolved, it would help ‘accurately define the scope of the ATT and its criteria as well.’ Without noting which criteria they wished to keep or remove, Iran called for a ‘limited’ list of criteria within the treaty. On the question of international cooperation and assistance, Iran was generally supportive, including use of this assistance to facilitate the transfer of technological information and technology itself. Iran also suggested the creation of a committee on international cooperation and assistance ‘to facilitate the cooperation of ATT parties in this field.’

Egypt took the floor a second time this session to briefly thank Spain for their clarification. Egypt also noted their continued willingness to engage with other delegations to pursue consensus.

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