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April 4, 2013.
President Grossruck applauds historic UN Arms Trade Treaty vote
COPENHAGEN, 3 April 2013 – Yesterday’s historic UN vote adopting the Arms Trade Treaty is an important step towards building genuine security in the OSCE area and across the world, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Wolfgang Grossruck said today.

I’d like to commend the Member States of the United Nations for finding the political will to set national interests aside in the pursuit of the common good,” Grossruck said. “This vote on the Arms Trade Treaty – the first-ever international accord regulating the global conventional weapons trade – shows what can be accomplished when governments work together along with civil society in the spirit of co-operation, which is also at the heart of the OSCE’s comprehensive view of security".

Grossruck, who assumed the presidency of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly last month, serves as deputy chairman of the human rights committee in the Austrian Parliament. In both his national and international capacities, he has long advocated for more stringent international control over the arms trade and therefore warmly welcomed the adoption of the treaty, which for the first time establishes in international law a set of rules for all international transfers of weapons and ammunition.

This treaty is an important step in bringing transparency and protection of human rights to a highly profitable but sometimes unscrupulous industry that too often allows weapons to fall into the wrong hands,” said Grossruck. “Now we must work to ensure that arms-exporting countries, including OSCE participating States, live up to the commitments to which they have just agreed.”

In the Monaco Declaration adopted last July, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly underlined that “the uncontrolled and unregulated arms trade is a grave threat to peace, security and stability at the local, national, regional and international levels as well as to democracy, the rule of law and sustainable social and economic development.” Noting that the unregulated arms trade contributes to armed conflicts, population displacement, organized crime and terrorism, the Assembly called on all OSCE participating States to contribute to the success of the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.

Although UN Member States failed to reach agreement on the treaty in July, negotiations were reopened last month, leading to a successful vote in the General Assembly yesterday with only Syria, North Korea and Iran voting against, and 23 abstaining. The vote culminated a decade of work by civil society organizations in pushing for international regulation of an industry that is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.
The landmark treaty will go into effect following its ratification by at least 50 countries.

Neil Simon, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly/ HIC -website

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