The beginning of the Final #ArmsTreaty negotiations

March 20 2013, 9:20 AM  by Lorey Campese

March 18 began the conference on arms trade treaty at the UN in New York. Unlike last year when the Great Powers blocked the passage of this agreement due to disagreements on some parts of the text, I think that this year there is the will of all participants to make this agreement possible and put the legal framework in place that would drastically reduce the chance of fraud and the illegal transfer of weapons.

 Despite the good will of all participants to have this agreement made, an immense struggle is ahead of us to improve the draft of the text which is just a good starting point for further discussion. The draft has some loopholes that could be misused in thetransfer of arms and lower the importance of this agreement. I believe that appropriate solutions will be found that will clearlyexplain all the points of agreement and thereby minimize the possibility of any wrongdoing.

One of the so-called loopholes that is not mentioned it in the text are arms and weapons gifts. There is a possibility where one country officially gives a present in arms to another country in the amount of $ 2 billion for example. The big question here iswhat kind of an unofficial agreements if any, between the two states were made and what kind of concessions were made to make this “gift” possible . Since arms gifts are not mentioned in the draft as the transfer of weapons then there are seriousdoubts about the possibility of fraud. I think that this illogical issue has to be corrected because it has a potential to underminethe agreement.

Also help in the form of arms and weapons has many similarities to the example mentioned in the previous paragraph. Help isomitted from the draft document but it could be illegally used for example in the countries where civil war is in progress.Delivery of the weapons in the form of assistance to any faction in a civil war could lead to a huge number of civilian casualties.I believe that this is not a goal of anyone here at the conference and I believe that this issue will be very seriously considered and regulated in the right way.

I believe that in order to improve the draft text of the Treaty, countries have to be ready to cooperate to reach agreement.Doing this will improve some of the existing points of the agreement and adding some new items such as the abovementioned will make the text of the agreement as accurate as possible without any ambiguity. I wish to believe that the states participating in the agreement are aware of issues mentioned and are ready to make concessions for the sake of passing this agreement.

Blog written by Branislav Kapetanovic, Cluster Munition Coalition Spokesperson