The Obama administration is demanding that the U.N. General Assembly vote on an arms trade treaty opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) next week, abandoning its earlier insistence on consensus.
The conference drafting the text broke up Thursday afternoon without reaching a deal after North Korea (DPRK), Syria and Iran objected. The United States immediately joined 11 other countries demanding a vote in the General Assembly after the president of the conference delivers his report on Tuesday.
“The U.S. regrets that it was not possible today to reach consensus at this conference on an arms trade treaty,” said Tom Countryman, the assistant secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation and head of the U.S. delegation to the Arms Trade Treaty Conference. “Such a treaty would promote global security, would advance important humanitarian objectives, and it would affirm the legitimacy of the international trade in conventional arms.”
He said the text that failed to reach consensus Thursday was “meaningful,” “implementable,” and “did not touch in any way upon the constitutional rights of American citizens.”
“We look forward to this text being adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in the very near future,” Countryman told reporters in a conference call Thursday night. “It’s important to the United States and the defense of our interests to insist on consensus. But every state in this process has always been conscious of the fact that, if consensus is not reached in this process, that there are other ways to adopt this treaty, including via a vote of the General Assembly.”
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