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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
ATT Conference Set for March

Daryl G. Kimball

The UN General Assembly last month overwhelmingly approved a resolution mandating a March 2013 conference to negotiate an arms trade treaty (ATT).

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 105 states, affirmed that the text of the treaty that was put forward on July 26, near the end of a four-week conference that had sought to produce an agreed ATT text, will serve as the basis for further talks. The resolution also called on the UN secretary-general to identify a president for the March 18-28 conference.

The July conference came close to reaching consensus on the text, but fell just short as some states, including the United States, said they needed more time to address remaining concerns. (See ACT, September 2012.) The proposed ATT requires that all states put in place national regulations on international arms transfers, establish common international standards for approving the transfers, and mandate regular reporting on them.

The ATT resolution was approved Nov. 7 by a margin of 157-0, with 18 abstentions. Four of the world’s five largest arms suppliers—China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States—voted in favor, while Russia abstained. Diplomatic sources say Peter Woolcott, the Australian ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, has been tapped to be president-designate of the March conference.