Arms Trade Treaty – finally ?

I am travelling today to New York where the UN Conference on the proposed Arms Trade Treaty will begin with the high-level segment. Will the 19 days (and nights?) reserved for the conference be enough to get a treaty with a wide scope, strong criteria for licensing and which could be ratified by as many countries as possible including Russia, China, India, United States?   I have been pushing for this treaty ever since the resolution co-sponsored by Finland initiating this process was adopted in December 2006. I have put this issue on the agenda in all my meetings, lately more forcefully. My discussions have shown that there is broad support for this negotiation process. Most eager to see a strong treaty adopted are i.a. those countries in Africa and Central America where even legally purchased small arms are transferred illegally from one conflict to another.  We need concrete results from this treaty. Not money – there is enough of it in arms trade, but control in arms trade. The treaty is about legal arms trade but increased control in legal arms trade necessarily reduces illegal arms trade when there is stricter control. Reduction in arms trade promotes human rights when there are fewer conflicts and hopefully fewer people are subject to armed conflicts. Now the UN or us as its Member States must act and deliver a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty in record time still maintaining a high ambition level.  I can also celebrate my birthday on July 1st on the day that Finland’s accession to the Ottawa convention banning landmines comes into force. It will also give more credibility to Finland’s work on Arms Control and Disarmament issues. 1.7. 2012