The United Nations is preparing to finalize its Arms Trade Treaty in 2012, better known in the United States as the Small Arms Treaty, after a series of talks in the Third Preparatory Committee took place last week. The final talks on the treaty have been scheduled for four weeks next summer, and new rules indicate that a majority vote is not necessary in order for the treaty to be passed. The Heritage Foundation contends that though the stated purpose of the treaty is to “address the absence of commonly agreed international standards for the transfer of conventional arms, which, it is argued, contribute to war, crime, and terrorism,” the treaty poses a threat to American liberties and interests.
Throughout the talks on the treaty, members of the UN Security Council — which includes China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States — voiced concerns over the establishment of a supranational authority. Security Council members and the European Union have now managed to eliminate the presence of that supranational authority originally designated by the treaty, replacing it with a more general statement of obligations related to arms trade which are to be fulfilled nationally, not globally.
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