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ATT Moves Closer to Entry Into Force
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Jefferson Morley and Daniel Horner

Nine more states ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in June, bringing the total number of ratifications to 41.

That leaves the treaty needing nine more for the 50 required for entry into force. Eight countries—Australia, Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Luxembourg, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Samoa—deposited their instruments of ratification in a ceremony at the United Nations on June 3, the first anniversary of the ATT’s opening for signature. Sweden ratified the treaty on June 16.

The UN General Assembly approved the ATT on April 2, 2013, by a vote of 154-3, with Iran, North Korea, and Syria in opposition. The treaty regulates the cross-border trade in conventional arms ranging from small arms and light weapons to fighter aircraft and naval warships.

Secretary of State John Kerry signed the treaty on behalf of the United States last September. U.S. officials say the White House intends to submit the ATT to the Senate for approval, but no date has been set. Last October, 50 senators sent an open letter to President Barack Obama declaring they would never vote for the treaty.

In a June 10 interview, Angela Kane, the UN high representative for disarmament affairs, said, “We don’t really expect the U.S. to ratify any time soon.” Kerry’s signing of the treaty at the UN was “powerful,” she said.

The pact needs to include the major arms exporters and importers to be “fully effective,” she said. She noted that China, India, and Russia have not signed the treaty. Those three countries were among the two dozen that abstained during the April 2013 vote.

Posted: July 2, 2014