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UN chief "deeply disappointed" at failure to adopt arms trade treaty


16:36, March 29, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that he was "deeply disappointed" with the failure of the UN conference to adopt a treaty, which would regulate the multi-billion-U.S. dollar international arms trade.

"The secretary-general is deeply disappointed with the failure of the Final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty to reach an agreement on a treaty text," said a statement issued by Ban's spokesman.

"The treaty had been within reach, thanks to the tireless work and spirit of compromise among member states," said the statement.

Ban voiced his deep disappointment on the last day of the UN conference following Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Syria blocked the adoption of the treaty, which required agreement by all 193 UN member states.

The last Arms Trade Treaty talks ended in July without agreement after the United States dashed the hope of the agreement by saying that it needed more time to consider the proposed accord.

The UN General Assembly in December 2006 voted to begin on a new but last round of talks on the treaty regulating international trade in conventional weapons. Earlier last week, Ban has stressed that reaching consensus through compromise on all sides is long overdue.

Armed violence, the secretary-general noted, kills more than half a million people each year, including 66,000 women and girls.

In addition, between 2000 and 2010, almost 800 humanitarian workers were killed in armed attacks and another 689 injured, according to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

"The secretary-general believes that the draft text was balanced and would have established effective common standards to regulate the international trade in conventional arms," the statement said.

"Given the importance of the issues involved, the secretary-general strongly hopes that member states will continue exploring ways to bring the treaty into being," the statement said.

When Peter Woolcott, the Australian UN ambassador who is also the chair of the two-week UN conference, re-opened the last-day meeting of the gathering which started on March 18, Iran, the DPRK and Syria reiterated that they would not join consensus.

Kenya and some other countries, speaking at the conference, proposed that Ban bring the treaty before the General Assembly for adoption at an early date.

However, representatives of such countries as Russia and China insisted the compliance with the principle of the adoption by consensus.

The arms trade treaty aims to "create a level playing field for international arms transfers by requiring all states to abide by a set of standards for transfer controls, which will ultimately benefit the safety and security of people everywhere in the world."

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