Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

 Supplementary Memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  In the light of the amendment to the Terms of Reference of this Inquiry specifically to include conventional weapons, the Foreign Affairs Committee might welcome up-dates on two of the issues related to conventional weapons covered in the original FCO Memorandum.


  The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly discussed the issues surrounding a possible Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) during its October meeting in New York. On 31 October, delegations voted on a resolution calling for further work on the ATT. This resolution had been co-authored by the UK with six other states (Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan and Kenya). The resolution passed with overwhelming support, with 147 states voting in favour (nearly 90% of those present) and only two states voting against (the USA and Zimbabwe). The resolution called for the UN to continue the work towards an ATT by convening a series of Open Ended Working Groups, open to all UN Member States, which will meet in the first half of 2009. These meetings will work to establish areas of agreement on the possible scope and parameters for a treaty. The General Assembly Plenary is scheduled to endorse this vote in December.


  The Foreign Secretary is due to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions on behalf of the UK at the signing ceremony in Oslo on 3 December. The Government is committed to ratification as soon as feasible thereafter.

  On a separate track, the final Group of Government Experts' Meeting and the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons both took place in Geneva in November. Despite being unable to reach consensus on a new Protocol on cluster munitions, some progress was made and States Parties agreed that negotiations should continue under a clearer mandate with a view to reaching a conclusion as early as possible in 2009.

9 December 2008

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