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UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations starts a last-chance bid tomorrow to agree on a treaty to regulate the
$80bn a year conventional arms trade, but the United States and other major powers have thrown up immediate obstacles.
The 193 UN members will have 11 days to hammer out a treaty that could force countries to evaluate, before making a sale, whether weapons will be used for human rights violations, or terrorism or organised crime.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon along with a host of Nobel Peace Prize winners and pressure groups have urged the key powers to buckle down and make concessions. The omens are not good, however.
Four weeks of talks in July ended in failure. Major producers — such as the United States, Russia and China — and buyers — including Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Gulf states — battled to chip away at the sales conditions and even to exclude whole categories from the treaty.
The United States refuses to include ammunition. China wants to protect its small arms, while Russia opposed including gifts and transfers of arms that could be made to an ally.
A compromise document was drawn up, but the United States asked for more time. “Quite frankly, a lot of the other big producers were relieved,” said one western diplomat.
The UN General Assembly has decreed that these will be the “final” negotiations.
“We really want to nail this thing now,” said one European diplomat. “There is a willingness, but a lot depends on the
US again.” AFP