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Published:June 19th, 2006 09:59 EST
Stemming the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons

Stemming the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons

By SOP newswire

The United States will participate in the United Nations "Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects," from June 26 – July 7, 2006 (with the exception of U.S. Independence Day on July 4, which the UN observes).

"It is in mankind’s interest to combat the global illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, which exacerbates disputes and hinders post-conflict progress," remarked Dr. Robert Joseph, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. "We look forward to working with others to tighten international arms export controls, stockpile security, and brokering legislation, while protecting the well-established rights of Americans to keep and bear arms."
During the conference, the United States will seek to strengthen implementation of the UN Program of Action through transfer controls and end-use certification processes as well as encourage the utilization of existing best practice guidelines such as those in the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe framework (OSCE), without infringing upon the legitimate arms trade. For example, the United States considers the OSCE’s "Handbook of Best Practices on Small Arms and Light Weapons" guide (www.osce.org/publications/fsc/2003/12/10621_29_en.pdf) a model to emulate. The UN’s International Tracing Instrument (http://disarmament2.un.org/cab/oewg/Report) is also a valuable tool.

The United States has one of the world’s best records in marking and tracing weapons, effectively controlling defense imports and exports (including regulating brokers), and effectively managing stockpiles. It also has ongoing programs to share best practices in these regards with other interested nations. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced over 10,000 firearms for law enforcement officials in over 50 countries in 2005 alone. Furthermore, since 2001 the U.S. Department of State has helped 25 countries to destroy over 900,000 illicit or surplus small arms/light weapons and over 80 million pieces of excess or illicit ammunition so far, and enabled the destruction of over 18,600 deadly man-portable air defense missiles (MANPADS) in 18 countries since 2003.

To learn more about the United States’ programs, consult the Fact Sheet "United States Actions to Stem the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons" at http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/67700.htm. For additional information, visit these U.S. Department of State webpages – www.state.gov/t/pm/wra/c3670.htm and www.pmddtc.state.gov, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives webpage at www.atf.gov/firearms/index.htm, and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency webpage at www.dtra.mil/press_resources/fact_sheets/fs_includes/salw.cfm.

Source: DoS