Russia Refuses to Back Draft Arms Trade Treaty

Russia is not satisfied with the existing draft of the proposed Arms Trade Treaty and urges the international community to continue the work on the text of the document, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which brought together delegations from 193 UN member nations for almost a month, released a revised draft text on Thursday. Many diplomats and experts believe that the document still has too many loopholes to be effective.

“The draft document does not meet the desired high standards in the area of global arms trade,” Russian Foreign Ministry’s Security and Disarmament Department Director Mikhail Ulyanov said on Friday at the closing of the conference.

“We will not support the draft document in its present version,” Ulyanov said.

The Russian delegation has proposed to extend the mandate of the conference for another 2-3 weeks and resume its work in November-December.

The prospective treaty is designed to improve the regulation of the global arms trade, estimated to be worth $60-$70 billion per year, and reduce the 750,000 annual deaths caused by arms-related incidents.

The treaty requires unanimous consensus by all UN member states. As the agreement has not been reached by the end of the conference on July 27, it could be brought before the UN General Assembly and adopted with a two-thirds majority vote.

Many observers have expressed skepticism over the treaty. Even if adopted, it is unlikely to prove effective, they say, as major arms traders, including the United States and Russia, have no interest in reducing weapons sales.

The United States is the world’s biggest arms trader accounting for over 40 percent of global conventional arms transfers, with $28.76-billion annual revenues, according to the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) think tank.

Russia occupies the second position in world arms sales as the country’s annual arms exports doubled over six years from $6 billion in 2005 to over $13 billion in 2011.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in July that Russia was planning to increase its revenues from arms sales by another $0.5 billion in 2012.


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