ATT PrepCom 2 Summaries: February 28, 2011 (PM Session)

March 28 2011, 12:56 AM  by sameerkanal

This post is the second 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

Monday, 2/28/2011, Afternoon Session

Pakistan argued that there is not yet a consensus in favor of the inclusion of human rights and socioeconomic status, as well as argued for the need for consensus in order to include provisions in the ATT, implying that at this time Pakistan does not support the inclusion of either human rights or socioeconomic status as parameters in the treaty.

New Zealand
New Zealand believed that all conventional arms should be included unless specifically mentioned as exceptions, which they called “the so-called ‘yes, unless’ approach.” They oppose restrictions or definitions based on caliber size, and supported the inclusion of all artillery system, ammunition, and brokering, saying explicitly that “we favor the inclusion of brokering within the ATT.”

Noting that the largest problem for Belize, as well as its region, was the proliferation of SALW and Ammunition, Belize said explicitly that it wanted the ATT to regulate both SALW and ammunition better than existing instruments. Belize wanted to include components, parts and accessories as well. They argued that the ATT must be “all-encompassing,” and supported the list in the Chairman’s Non-Paper [February 2011 version] of activities to be included. [Note: The February 2011 Chairman’s Non-Paper included under “Scope” section IIIh that brokering would be regulated under the Arms Trade Treaty.]

Russian Federation
Russia cautioned delegates that they are worrying too much about the scope and parameters without first determining a consensus on what the ATT is designed to do. As a result the scope and parameters everyone brings to the table would result in different ends. Russia worried that countries would look to the ATT expecting it to serve as a panacea if the goals were not clearly defined so as to have realistic expectations. Russia proposed that all goals must be approved by consensus and must be clear. Russia’s opinion of what was supported by consensus presently was using the treaty to combat the illicit transfer of arms and diversion into the illicit market.

Thailand noted the work previously done on scope, thanking both the otehr delegates of the PrepCom and previously, the Open-Ended Working Groups for facilitating the progress thus far. They did not argue in favor of inclusion or exclusion of specific points, instead supporting a clear definition that balanced universality of support and effectiveness in combating the problems.

Australia stated that they were not necessarily committed to the idea of all parameters applying equally to all covered items or activities under scope – some could apply to some items, others to different items. For example, the worry of states of ammunition, if it had to do with the difficulty of implementation of reporting requirements on ammunition should ammunition be included, could be averted by not having a reporting requirement on ammunition. Australia supported the inclusion of small arms and light weapons, as well as ammunition. Their support for the inclusion of ammunition and equipment was strengthened by their statement that there should be no caliber-based definitions or gaps. They were, however, cautious regarding parts and components, saying that this inclusion might broaden the ATT too far beyond existing instruments. While calling for a simpler definition of brokering, Australia reaffirmed its support for including brokering in the scope of the ATT.

Iraq supported a clear defining line for when a weapons was to be considered antique – a clear date of manufacture before which a weapon was antique. Citing the “special dangers of silencers and sniper weapons, that should receive adequate importance in the text of the treaty,” Iraq supported the inclusion of these in a definition of SALW to be regulated by the treaty. Iraq also wanted implementation to focus on national reporting and transparency measures. Finally, Iraq said they wanted to re-evaluate whether or not to define wepaons based on weight or caliber, and reaffirmed their support for the inclusion of re-export as well as import and export in regulated activities in the treaty’s scope.

Switzerland fully supported the definition of items that were covered in the Chairman’s February 2011 Non-Paper. Switzerland also wanted to include components and parts, not just completed weapon systems. Finally, Switzerland stated that their support for comprehensive scope included strong support for the inclusion of brokering as well. [Note: The February 2011 Chairman’s Non-Paper included under “Scope” section II that SALW and Ammunition would be regulated by the ATT.]

Sweden supported the inclusion of ammunition, and that logistical concerns about the implementation of any requirements related to ammunition were outweighed by the humanitarian arguments in favor of their inclusion. Sweden also opposed caliber-based excemptions, calling for the use of the Norwegian text “ammunition used by the weapons covered.” Sweden also argued in favor of parts & components’ inclusion. Sweden advocated in favor of including brokering, but against Research & Development and financing being included in a potential ATT.

Mexico supported the list in the Chairman’s Non-Paper, but preferred the approach of New Zealand and Norway, to define the list generally with examples in an annex. Mexico supported the addition to covered activities of abandonment and destruction of arms, and define transfer based on possession and control rather than title transfer. Mexico supported the regulation of hunting and sporting rifles due to the risk of modifications to make the more deadly. Mexico supported the inclusion of “all existing categories of weapons” in the scope of the treaty.

Uruguay supported a document that would be legally binding regulating conventional arms, and did not delve deeply into the Chairman’s papers at the present time. However, Uruguay noted the importance of regional cooperation, and invited all countries from the Americas to a summit on the ATT hosted in April in Uruguay and supported by UNIDIR and the EU.

Venezuela noted that scope and parameters were linked and one could not be discussed without referencing the other. Venezuela supported the treaty addressing the socioeconomic effects of arms transfers, with specific references to the responsibilities of weapon producers and manufacturers for adverse effects of transfers. Venezuela supported the list of possible sources of information states could use in evaluations of possible transfers. However, Venezuela expressed caution as to whether or not the list should be expanded beyond the UN Register of Conventional Arms’ categories, including questions of hunting/sporting rifles’ inclusion in this concern as well. Venezuela opposed regulation by the ATT of technology transfer and technical assistance as well.

United States
The United States said that they were pleased with the level of agreement already in place between most delegations, in spite of the fact that a lot of work remained. The US cautioned delegates that their language was getting “a little sloppy,” stressing that the ATT doesn’t regulate anything, but that states would be implementing these regulations. The US agreed with China in stating that the treaty would not be an embargo or sanction-creating document like a Security Council Resolution. The US also stated that they didn’t want the treaty to focus on illegal or illicit activities, since those activities were already illegal and needed no further illegality. The USA instead supported the establishment of “transparent, responsible criteria for transfer decision-making.” On specific items, the USA stated that their viewpoint on ammunition and explosives – “that they do not belong in the treaty” – has not changed. They also expressed concern about the wording of possibly including Research & Development, technology transfer and technical assistance, though remained open to suggestions on these points. Finally, the US expressed that they opposed the inclusion of financing in the list of activities under the treaty’s scope.

The Philippines supported the 7+1 option, encompassing the 7 categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms as well as Small Arms and Light Weapons. While the Philippines supported a “large scope,” they also stated their belief that it isn’t good to add everything to the scope. For activities, the Philippines advocated for the inclusion of brokering, and finally, the Philippine delegation supported the list of exceptions within the Chair’s non-paper.

Ecuador endorsed the scope non-paper of the Chairman, specifically approving of the inclusion of SALW and all munitions. Stating that “a weapon without munitions is useless,” Ecuador stated that no munitions should be excluded of any variety. Ecuador also endorsed the Chairman’s list of activities to be included. [Note: The February 2011 Chairman’s Non-Paper included under “Scope” section IIIh that brokering would be regulated under the Arms Trade Treaty.]

France endorsed the earlier statement given on behalf of the European Union, but added to it in a national capacity by saying that the ATT should contribute to regulating the legal trade and combating the illicit trade in conventional arms. Opposing the “yes, unless” approach, France preferred a more “positively-defined” list of included items. France wanted “most to all” conventional weapons covered by the treaty, and sought ease of updating lists as new technologies developed. France’s delegate “reiterate[d] on SALW and munitions – both must be a part of the treaty.” France supported a “more comprehensive” list than the UN Register, and objected to a possible omission made by the current wording of the Chairman’s non-paper which would leave out military aircraft, training aircraft, and ground-to-air missiles. France reiterated its support for strong regulation of brokering, as well.

Guatemala expressed support for the inclusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons, munitions, parts, components and technology, as well as the conventional arms in the UN Register. Guatemala also endorsed an information-exchange program to help facilitate broader knowledge of approved or rejected transfers. Guatemala opposed excluding hunting and sporting rifles. While Guatemala did say they were open to negotiation, they noted that any middle ground needed to involve the inclusion of SALW and ammunition for Guatemala’s continued support.

Iran began by noting that in July’s PrepCom, 2 members of the Iranian delegation were denied US entry visas, and this problem had persisted to the current Prepcom, with one member of their current delegation denied a visa as well and thus unable to attend. Iran promised to address this with the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. Iran expressed the opinion that a perfect ATT would protect the rights of states to possess conventional arms, as well as related knowledge and technology. Iran insisted that the treaty reaffirm the “inalienable right of self-determination, and [the right of States] to take action to realize this right, in accordance with the UN Charter.” Iran also said that the treaty should faciliate the licit trade and prevent the illicit trade in small arms, and help to ‘delegitimize the presence of foreign forces abroad, a factor which promotes arms races and accumulation of arms.”

Algeria advocated for the exclusion of technology transfer, technical assitance and financing from the treaty. Algeria also stated their belief that internal transfer of arms, sporting and hunting weapons, antique weapons and domestic production should remain excluded from the treaty. Finally, Algeria reaffirmed its commitment to both the Arab Group and African Group statements from earlier in the day.

Denmark supported the inclusion of parts and components in the treaty’s scope, as well as technology and equipment related to manufacturing of conventional arms. Denmark supported the inclusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the treaty’s scope, as well as brokering. On this latter point, Denmark noted that when defined, brokering should exclude transport to avoid the difficulties of regulating transportation of arms.

Colombia noted that arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament were essential for international security. Colombia believed the ATT should deal with tracking end-users of arms, storage, destruction and stockpiling. Colombia called for a scope that included SALW, ammunition, components/parts, and related equipment. Colombia also called for the inclusion of transport as a regulated activity under the ATT.

South Africa
The delegation of South Africa began by expressing their support for the “7+1+1” method of defining the treaty’s scope, including the seven categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms, Small Arms Light Weapons, and Ammunition. South Africa also endorsed the inclusion of dual-use of items, but expressed flexibility on this point. South Africa reiterated earlier statements that called for the treaty to be legally binding upon states to exercise control over defined lists of items. South Africa also called for a discussion over the treaty’s objectives, as the scope of the treaty “must meet” those objectives to be valid.

Endorsing Hungary’s earlier statement on behalf of the European Union, Italy continued its remarks in a national capacity, thanking the Chairman for his non-papers [February 2011 edition]. Italy reaffirmed its commitment to the inclusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the treaty’s scope, as well as to the exclusion of sporting and hunting weapons. Italy, more broadly, endorsed the limitation of the treaty’s scope to military weapons as opposed to civilian weapons because military weapons impact “the phenomena that the ATT aims to prevent” more than civilian weapons do.

Israel commented first on the specific wording and definitions within the Chairman’s non-paper, noting that “technology transfer,” listed separately under “activities,” could include numerous other separate items under that section as well. However, the Israeli delegation’s comments were more broad on the items list under scope. Israel stated that the UN Register “provides, in our view, the most appropriate basis for our discussion, [but] more work is required on [Small Arms, Light Weapons and ammunition.” Israel closed by noting that updating an annex is no easier than updating a treaty’s text, addressing earlier concerns about the ability to update the treaty as more modern weapons come into use.

Peru was supportive of the inclusion of munitions and of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the scope of the treaty. Peru advocated for the creation of “a mechanism – such as a commission of experts,” which would review weapons for inclusion in the treaty to address the concern of future categories of weapons. Peru wanted to include civilian double-use items and hunting and sporting rifles in the treaty’s scope, as well as gifts, loans and exhibits of weaponry. Finally, Peru agreed with earlier speakers that brokering was a necessity for the treaty’s scope.

While supporting the ECOWAS and African Group statements made on Monday, Ghana elaborated upon its own position by noting that if an ATT existed, the effects of illegal arms transfer on their region upon socioeconomic development would not be as severe. Ghana called for a short text within the treaty defining weapon types, with an annex containing a detailed list. The scope, in Ghana’s views, could be improved by including military space systems, software, and other related points. As well, Ghana called for the non-paper [Chairman’s February 2011 version] to include arms transport services, but otherwise endorsed the list of items and activities. Ghana endorsed changing the text defining criteria to obligate states to utilize these criteria in evaluating potential transfers rather than merely suggesting it. Ghana said it looked forward to seeing the implementation paper at the next PrepCom and for transparency measures to be included. Finally, Ghana noted that “for victim assistance to be relevant, ultimate responsibility should rest upon the exporting country, whose irresponsible transfer created victims in the recipient country.” [Note: The February 2011 Chairman’s Non-Paper included under “Scope” section IIIh that brokering would be regulated under the Arms Trade Treaty. It also included  under “Scope” section II that SALW and Ammunition would be regulated by the ATT.]

Germany’s remarks were made in a national capacity after Germany first endorsed the statement made by Hungary on behalf of the European Union. Germany supported the inclusion of parts and components for military purposes. On the question of dual-use items, items usable both for a civilian and military purpose, Germany agreed with South Africa that the treaty scope should focus on what was needed to be covered, not what delegations might also want to be covered. Addressing the United States’ comments on ammunition, Germany noted its belief that weapons systems and ammunition “come as twins.” When promoting the objectives of the ATT by including weapons or ammunition in scope, Germany argued that delegations help those objectives be reached by including the other as well. Germany also noted that the USA already controls ammunition in its exports, and thus its belief that the USA’s position is based off of its desire not to report on ammunition. Germany expressed its willingness to remove the reporting requirement for ammunition, in order to attain the United States’ support for regulating it in all other ways.

Chile expressed its support for a “robust, binding treaty with a humanitarian vision” to regulate the licit trafficking in, and combat the illicit trade of, conventional arms. Chile supported the 7+1+1 formula, advocating for this formula on the grounds of the specific dangers caused by munitions and Small Arms and Light Weapons being currently unregulated. Chile supported the regulation of sporting and hunting arms, as well as antique or collectors’ weapons, including parts and components, and reiterated the need to include ammunition for these as well. Chile expressed its support for the negotiation process and for the Chairman, stating that it believes the task ahead is large, but possible with time.

Syria supported the statement given by Bahrain on behalf of the Arab group, and continued on in a national capacity. Syria argued that purposes and objectives should be finalized prior to discussions on scope and parameters. The list in the non-paper, though modeled after the UN Register’s seven categories, are more expansive – this listing has not been approved by the international community previously. On ammunition, Syria said that they “wonder how we would deal with this issue, especially those producing states – how we woul define what is already possessed and what is going to be exported. The issue of ammunition is a purely security item that should not be included.” Technology, however, was supported by Syria for inclusion, as the inclusion of technology would help the treaty address sustainable development. Syria noted it remains open to consideration of whether or not the treaty should include transfer of technology, loans, and financing.

Russian Federation
Russia asked the delegations to maintain their “feeling for reality” in the discussions, beginning with the goals and tasks of the treaty – its purposes and principles, if clearly formulated, would easily guide the scope in Russia’s view. Without prior agreement of purposes, principles and goals, Russia warned that the scope proposed would be unable to reach consensus. Russia argued that the goal of the treaty should be the prevention of diversion of weapons into illicit trade: “On that basis, the goals of the ATT will be those whose achievement can help us cut off the drain of such weapons towards undesirable end users. Russia approaches the issue of the scope of the document fairly flexibly. We’re ready to discuss various options that are in line with the agreed goals and tasks. The main thing is that our joint decisions should be realistic and practically reachable.”