Foreign Minister Westerwelle today (2 April) issued the following statement on the vote in the General Assembly of the United Nations on a global Arms Trade Treaty:
I welcome the UN General Assembly’s adoption today by an overwhelming majority of the Arms Trade Treaty. For the first time internationally binding rules for arms exports have been agreed. This is a milestone for our global endeavours to advance arms control and security.
We will now work hard to ensure that the Treaty enters into force as soon as possible.
We remain committed, moreover, to achieving even more ambitious rules for controlling and limiting the arms trade. While this time round that proved beyond reach, we will continue to campaign actively for these goals when the Treaty comes up for review.
As recently as 28 March 2013 opposition by Iran, North Korea and Syria had blocked agreement at the UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference on a final text laying down legally binding minimum standards for conventional arms transfers.
Thereupon the text was put to the vote today in the UN General Assembly.
A clear majority of 154 countries voted in favour, with only three countries against. At least 50 countries must ratify the Treaty before it can enter into force.