UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (Itar-Tass) — Russia cannot support the draft international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in its current form and calls for filling it with concrete action, not slogans, Director of the Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament of the RF Foreign Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov, who heads the Russian delegation at the ongoing UN conference said on Friday.
According to him, in its present form the treaty “will work more for PR than on the essence of matter.” “Therefore we cannot support it in this form,” Mikhail Ulyanov said in an interview with Russian journalists. “We believe that the main challenge in the development of the international Arms Trade Treaty is to prevent the spread of weapons from legal to illegal turnover. Here are the main risks associated with organised crime, terrorism, conflicts and violence,” the official said. “Slogans are good, but it is necessary to formulate the basic tasks and methods to achieve this goal,” he added.
Ulyanov said that Russia proposes to fill the treaty with specific substance, “to give the cue to the states - primarily importers, what specific measures could be taken in order to keep arms under control.” “We propose to allow the supply of weapons only to those entities which are authorised by the related state, which have licenses to purchase weapons, which are transparent and are under control,” the RF Foreign Ministry official said.
He called the draft document presented on Friday weak and “carelessly drawn up.” “It is not consistent with the objective to establish the highest standards in the field of international arms trade - a problem which was formulated by the UN General Assembly,” said Ulyanov. In this connection, the delegation of the Russian Federation proposes to request the General Assembly “to extend the mandate of the conference for another 2-3 weeks, so that it could gather in November and December and continue the work.” This idea, said Ulyanov, “has been supported by many countries that are unhappy with the way the coordination of the draft is going.”
At present, there is a major dispute is, in particular, around the third paragraph of Article 6 of the draft treaty, which demands states to suspend existing arms supply contracts, if it becomes known that the arms are used to violate human rights. At the same time, the document does not obligate the parties to terminate the contract if the supplied weapons get into the hands of organised crime groups. The draft treaty has plenty of such loopholes, the same as ambiguous wording. “Many things can be behind every word in such documents. A carelessly formulated concept will be interpreted in different ways and cause serious disputes or problems,” said Mikhail Ulyanov.
The conference, taking place at the UN in the General Assembly with the participation of 193 countries and representatives of nongovernmental organisations, began its work on July 3. Its main task is to develop the International Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that provides for comprehensive fulfilment of the principle of control over the import, export and exchange of different types of conventional weapons - from small arms to tanks.
Meanwhile, a few hours before the end of the forum its participants had no agreement even on the basic principles of the treaty. On Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the lack of progress in the development of the document. He urged the conference participants “to be flexible and work in good faith in order to eliminate the contradictions.”