UN arms trade deal blocked by key nations – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
A UN deal to regulate the international arms trade has suffered a serious setback.
The Australian-sponsored draft treaty was blocked by the United States, Russia, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, who all asked for more time.
Under the proposed UN treaty, signatories would have had to evaluate if any conventional weapons they exported could be used to violate human rights or fall into the hands of organised-crime gangs.
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said he was "disappointed" that member states failed to clinch an agreement after several years of preparatory work and four weeks of negotiations.
But he vowed "steadfast" commitment to obtaining a "robust" arms trade treaty, noting that countries had agreed to pursue negotiations.
"There is already considerable common ground and states can build on the hard work that has been done during these negotiations," he added.
Some diplomats said Washington had refused to vote on the proposed text, saying it needed more time before the midnight deadline and was worried about a pushback from the US Congress. Russia and other countries followed suit.
"It’s the fault of the United States that we failed," a Western diplomat said, requesting anonymity to speak freely about the subject.
"They derailed the process and we will have to wait for the US presidential elections" in November to get out of the impasse, the diplomat added.
Conference chairman ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina acknowledged that some countries had objected to the final treaty draft.
The UN General Assembly, which begins its new session in late September, will decide whether and when there will be more negotiations.
In the end, 90 countries – including all European Union members, and states from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa – signed the text, saying they were "disappointed but… not discouraged" and vowing to soon finalise a treaty based on Moritan’s draft.
A consensus of all 193 countries involved in the talks had been required to agree on the accord.
"We always thought this was going be difficult and that this outcome was a possible one," Mr Moritan said.