Arms Trade Treaty Discussion Creeps Forward

By Jeff Abramson

More than 140 countries voted at the UN First Committee to continue discussion next year on the creation of a global arms trade treaty, marking some progress on a resolution first passed in 2006. The United States voted against the measure and has not yet decided whether to continue its participation in the discussions. With or without the world's top arms trader, significant hurdles exist in reaching a legally binding instrument. Continued slow progress raises the possibility that countries may opt to fashion a treaty outside of traditional UN mechanisms, as was recently done in concluding a cluster munitions agreement.

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