The Impending U.S. Signature of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty
By Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The U.S. is unlikely to sign until late September, when the General Assembly starts its new session. Signing then would extract the maximum favorable publicity.
The United States could be free to sign the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty as soon as Thursday (today).
When the treaty opened for national signatures on June 3, Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed it with open arms, noting that the U.S. “look[ed] forward to signing it as soon as the process of conforming the official translations is completed satisfactorily.”
The ATT was negotiated in English, and initial translations of it into the U.N.’s other official languages were flawed.
Revised translations have since been circulated, and unless objections to the new language have been received, the final translation – into Russian – was formally completed yesterday, August 28 2013. Thus, by the standard Secretary Kerry has set, the U.S. may now free to sign the ATT.
For many reasons, this would be an unwise decision. The administration is to be commended, at least, for waiting until the translations are complete before signing onto the treaty – it is a basic precaution, after all, to know what it is you are signing before you put your name on it. As a matter of practice, the U.S. is unlikely to sign until late September, when the General Assembly starts its new session. Signing then would extract the maximum favorable publicity from the assembled nations in New York.