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Arms Trade

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 12 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made towards an international arms trade treaty. (228201)

Together with Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan and Kenya, we have been pressing for an International Arms Trade treaty (ATT) to be agreed at the United Nations. At this year’s First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the UK together with these six other states co-authored a resolution proposing further work at the UN in 2009 aimed at establishing an ATT. The resolution was adopted on 31 October by an overwhelming majority (147 states in favour, and only two votes against (the US and Zimbabwe). Achieving an ATT is a complex process, which will take time, but we have made good progress, and we will continue to work actively towards achieving our goal.

On the domestic front, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary launched a new phase of the UK’s campaign towards an ATT by hosting a meeting of key stakeholders from industry, civil society, academia and the media in London on 9 September. In addition, I hosted a briefing on 9 October for the London-based Diplomatic Corps, setting out the UK’s support for an Arms Trade treaty and encouraging active international engagement in the UN process.