Exclusive: Secretary of State Kerry to sign Arms Trade Treaty – diplomats…(Lock And Load!!)
By Paul Eckert, Louis Charbonneau and Arshad Mohammed
Tue Sep 24, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a move that puts the Obama administration at odds with the powerful American gun lobby, will sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty regulating the $70 billion international conventional arms business, diplomats said on Tuesday.
A senior State Department official said President Barack Obama’s administration would notify the U.S. Senate on Tuesday and Kerry would sign the treaty on Wednesday on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Obama gave a speech to the assembly on Tuesday that focused on Syria, Iran and other Middle East hot spots.
The arms treaty, which requires ratification by the Senate and has been attacked by America’s pro-gun National Rifle Association, would help Western countries press to curtail Russian arms sales to Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s government has been accused of widespread abuses in more than two years of civil war.
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kerry’s decision “a milestone towards ending the flow of conventional arms that fuel atrocities and abuse.”
The United States and 86 other signatory nations “must implement the treaty and bring to an end the supply of weapons to countries where they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or other serious human rights violations,” Shetty said in a statement.
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, whose country has been repeatedly attacked by a cross-border Islamic jihadist militant group called Boko Haram, told the United Nations such rebellions are “sustained by unfettered access by non-state actors to illicit smart arms and light weapons.”