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The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Is Back (and Actually, It Never Left)

2nd Amend.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Is Back (and Actually, It Never Left)

The First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly is considering a resolution to convene “the Final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty” in New York next March.

In July, a U.N. conference to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) collapsed when it became obvious that the draft treaty was not ready for prime time. But as I wrote at the time, the conference’s collapse was “not the end of the process. It is the end of a phase.” That next phase of the ATT is now well underway.

After the conference fell apart, 90 nations—led by Mexico—stated their desire to secure an ATT “as soon as possible.” For a while, it seemed possible that, egged on by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that blamed the July fiasco on the U.S., they might try to push a treaty through the U.N. General Assembly, an approach that would certainly have produced a treaty the U.S. could never ratify. But cooler heads, and the marginally saner option of the First Committee resolution, prevailed.

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