A coalition of civil society groups is calling on President Obama to step up support for the UN Arms Trade Treaty, as countries enter the final week of negotiations on a proposed draft that would regulate international weapons transfers and curb the flow of weapons to human rights abusers.
“President Obama has said that he wants human rights and general international diplomacy to be a core of US approaches,”Jeff Abramson, director of the Control Arms Secretariat, said Monday. “This is a legacy moment for him. This treaty is critical and we are calling him to step up to some of those statements.”
While a final Arms Trade Treaty agreement is expected to be announced by Friday, countries continue to disagree over several important aspects of the text.
The U.S. for instance has said it would only support the ATT if it excluded ammunition from the treaty, but countries like Mexico, France and other European states have argued international transfers of ammunition should be regulated .
Abramson and others say the exclusion of ammunition would make for a “weak treaty.”
“We want this treaty to be strong and have a broad scope and that’s what we are aiming for,” Abramson told TRNS. “I think there is reason to expect the US to include ammunition in the treaty because they are already regulating the international trade.”
The possible inclusion of human rights components and assessments to the treaty has also been opposed by several countries.
Last Friday, 74 states supported a statement outlining the minimum humanitarian principles to be included in the treaty. However, the UK, Australia, Japan and France were not among those 74 countries.
A draft of the treaty is expected Wednesday but Abramson warned that negotiations may take longer than anticipated:
“I anticipate 6 pm on Friday they may still be going,” he said. “I wouldn’t pack up until after Saturday morning.”