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Will the US-UK entente cordiale ruin progress on major Arms Trade Treaty?

There was much talk over the weekend about Hillary Clinton’s whistle-stop tour around Europe.  During her whirlwind tour the US Secretary of State managed to make a pit-stop at Westminster where she reassured Gordon Brown of the US-UK special friendship and to discuss with the Foreign Secretary matters common to both countries.

While the news agenda was dominated by Iran and Afghanistan, it didn’t cover the worrying prospect that the UK may well have agreed to a proposal by the US government which will have a detrimental impact upon the progress of on an international Arms Trade Treaty.

The UK Government has long been a frontrunner in calling for a robust international arms trade treaty that would seek to tighten up the controls on global trading of weapons to ensure that they don’t end up in places where they can be used to commit human rights violations.

So far things have progressed relatively well – albeit rather slowly – at UN level. However Amnesty and Oxfam have discovered that plans are afoot by the US government to amend the agreement process for an arms trade treaty – to move it from majority vote to consensus.  This effectively would give any government the power of veto during discussions – consequently the ability to derail efforts to secure an effective treaty.

Needless to say the Control Arms Campaign is concerned at this prospect.  This move could totally destroy all the years of long campaigning to get this important treaty up and running.

Amnesty and Oxfam – members of the Control Arms Campaign – will have delegates at the UN over the next few weeks to lobby governments, urging them not to accept the US’s suggestion and to move forward as soon as possible with plans for a robust and effective Arms Trade Treaty.

We’ll keep you informed of developments.  

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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