As a lump of coal for our Christmas stockings, the United Nations voted on Christmas Eve to restart debate on the Arms Trade Treaty.
The talks had collapsed in July when a consensus couldn’t be reached. It was felt at the time that this was due in part to President Obama not wanting the ATT hung around his neck going into the fall elections. Of course, this was denied by the US delegation.
That was then and this is now. According to Reuters, the US supported the resumption of talks.
But after Obama’s re-election last month, his administration joined other members of a U.N. committee in supporting the resumption of negotiations on the treaty.
That move was set in stone on Monday when the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly voted to hold a final round of negotiations on March 18-28 in New York.
The foreign ministers of Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom – the countries that drafted the resolution – issued a joint statement welcoming the decision to resume negotiations on the pact.
“This was a clear sign that the vast majority of U.N. member states support a strong, balanced and effective treaty, which would set the highest possible common global standards for the international transfer of conventional arms,” they said.
There were 133 votes in favor, none against and 17 abstentions. A number of countries did not attend, which U.N. diplomats said was due to the Christmas Eve holiday.
The exact voting record was not immediately available, though diplomats said the United States voted ‘yes,’ as it did in the U.N. disarmament committee last month. Countries that abstained from last month’s vote included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Cuba and Iran.
The Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill says of the resumption of talks:
The move could intensify another high-profile fight between the
administration, which backs the treaty, and the National Rifle
Association (NRA) which says it will restrict the domestic sale of
As I see it, we will have both a domestic and international battle on our hands in the coming months. Now, more than ever, we need to be united and to deluge Congress with letters, faxes, and emails demanding no new gun control.