UNITED NATIONS: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will sign the first global treaty to regulate the $80 billion annual trade in conventional arms, an American official said Tuesday. Kerry is to sign the Arms Trade Treaty Wednesday, in a bid to stem the flow of weapons used in brutal uprisings and genocide.
“Following congressional notifications today, tomorrow Secretary Kerry will sign the treaty on behalf of President [Barack] Obama and the United States of America,” a senior State Department official said.
The agreement was adopted earlier this year by the United Nations to regulate trade in tanks, armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles and small arms.
The treaty, which has been years in the making, was only adopted after tough negotiations at the U.N.
“The treaty builds on decades of cooperative efforts to stem the international, illegal and illicit trade in conventional weapons that benefits terrorists and rogue agents,” the State Department official said.
It “will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes.”
Kerry in April praised the adoption of the treaty, saying it was “strong, effective and implementable” and insisted it would not infringe on the U.S. Constitution.
It is the first major arms accord since the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and covers all conventional weapons.
It has no automatic enforcement. However, it seeks to force the weapons industry within accepted boundaries.
Though the United States – which is the world’s biggest arms producer – has endorsed the treaty, the U.S. Congress must still ratify it.
The powerful arms lobby in the United States has already voiced objections, fearful that it could infringe on individual gun rights within U.S. borders.