Pak sup­ports In­dia’s stand on UN ATT

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

UNITED NA­TIONS— Pak­istan has sup­ported In­dia’s stand on the UN Arms Trade Treaty that would reg­u­late the USD 70 bil­lion con­ven­tional arms trade around the world, say­ing it favours the arms ex­port­ing coun­tries and does not pro­tects the in­ter­ests of im­porters.

“The treaty may be seen by many as es­sen­tially a prod­uct of and by the ex­porters only. It falls short of strik­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance of in­ter­ests and obli­ga­tions among the ex­porters and im­porters as well as the af­fected states,” said Pak­istani Am­bas­sador to the UN Ma­sood Khan. In his re­marks to the Arms Trade Treaty Con­fer­ence at the UN head­quar­ters in New York ~ Khan said the call for bal­ance was echoed by an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity.

“Some treaty pro­vi­sions, how­ever, le­git­imise in a global le­gal in­stru­ment what the ex­ist­ing na­tional and pluri­lat­eral ex­port con­trol sys­tems cover. The in­ter­ests of ex­port­ing coun­tries have been ac­com­mo­dated in the form of spe­cial ex­emp­tions, ex­cep­tions and pro­tec­tions,” he has said. The treaty fell apart due to lack of con­sen-

sus among the 193 mem­ber coun­tries be­cause of op­po­si­tion from North Korea, Iran and Syria.

In­dia said the treaty in its present form would com­pro­mise with its na­tional in­ter­est mainly it does it favours the arms ex­port­ing na­tions and is weak on arms sup­ply to non­State ac­tors . Pak­istan, how­ever, re­mained silent on t he sec­ond con­cerns raised by In­dia.

Pro­po­nents of the treaty have now de­cided to put it to vote at the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly as early as Tues­day.

While the fi­nal de­ci­sion by In­dia is yet to be taken, New Delhi is most likely to end up ab­stain­ing, i f not vot­ing against t he draft treaty.

The US on Thurs­day, how­ever, tried to ally In­dian fears by ar­gu­ing that it “does not harm” In­dia’s na­tional in­ter­est. “My own view is that this treaty will not be harm­ful to In­dia’s se­cu­rity and cer­tainly not in any way harm the very strong bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship be­tween In­dia and the United States,” Mr Tom Coun­try­man, head of t he US del­e­ga­tion to the Arms Trade Treaty Con­fer­ence told re­porters dur­ing a con­fer­ence call.

In her in­ter­ven­tion dur­ing the clos­ing ar­gu­ments at the UN head­quar­ters in New York, In­dia’s Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Con­fer­ence on Dis­ar­ma­ment, Geneva and Head of t he In­dian Del­e­ga­tion to the Arms Trade Treaty Con­fer­ence, Su­jata Me­hta, said that the fi­nal ver­sion fell short of In­dia’s ex­pec­ta­tions and that of other like minded coun­tries.

“At the com­mence­ment of this Con­fer­ence In­dia had made clear t hat t he ATT should make a real im­pact on il­licit traf­fick­ing in con­ven­tional arms and their il­licit use es­pe­cially by ter­ror­ists and other unau­tho­rised and un­law­ful non-State ac­tors.

The pro­vi­sions in t he fi­nal draft on ter­ror­ism and non-state ac­tors are weak and dif­fused and find no men­tion in the spe­cific pro­hi­bi­tions of the Treaty,” Ms Me­hta said in her in­ter­ven­tion.

In­dia, she said, has stressed con­sis­tently that the ATT should en­sure a bal­ance of obli­ga­tions be­tween ex­port­ing and im­port­ing states.

“In­dia can­not ac­cept that the Treaty be used as an in­stru­ment in the hands of ex­port­ing states to take uni­lat­eral force ma­jeure mea­sures against im­port­ing states par­ties with­out con­se­quences,” she said. “The rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions in the fi­nal draft do not meet our re­quire­ments. There is a fun­da­men­tal im­bal­ance in the text which is flawed as the weight of obli­ga­tions is tilted against im­port­ing States.

As an im­port­ing state we will take mea­sures to en­sure that the treaty does not af­fect the sta­bil­ity and pre­dictabil­ity of de­fense co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments and con­tracts en­tered into by In­dia,” Ms Me­hta ar­gued.

The draft text came up for ap­proval on Thurs­day af­ter the UN mem­bers failed to adopt it in July last year even af­ter month-long ne­go­ti­a­tions.

UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment on the fail­ure of the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on the Arms Trade Treaty to reach an agree­ment on t he text, which f or t he first time would have reg­u­lated the in­ter­na­tional arms trade. — On­line

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