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UN votes to begin work on global arms trade treaty despite US opposition

[JURIST] A UN General Assembly committee voted Thursday to begin work on a new treaty aiming to set uniform standards for global arms trade despite vocal opposition from the United States. The treaty would be directed at securing international cooperation in preventing arms deals that fuel wars or lead to human rights abuses. The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) [official website] adopted the resolution by a vote of 139 to 1 with 26 abstentions just two days after a group of 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates urged it to take up the issue [JURIST report]. The United States registered the lone vote against the measure, with China, Russia, Pakistan, and India among the nations abstaining. The next step is a vote by the full UN General Assembly [official website], where passage is expected because all 192 members sit on the Disarmament Committee. If the resolution is approved by the General Assembly, the UN secretary-general will have a year to seek the views of member states on the scope and content of a treaty regulating conventional arms deals.

Other committee activities on Thursday included approvals of drafts on the implementation of the Landmines Convention, the illicit trade of small arms, and a resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty [texts]. Read the UN press release. Reuters has more.

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