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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Historic Arms Trade Treaty


Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 2, 2013

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The United States is pleased that the United Nations General Assembly has approved a strong, effective and implementable Arms Trade Treaty that can strengthen global security while protecting the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade.

The Treaty adopted today will establish a common international standard for the national regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and require all states to develop and implement the kind of systems that the United States already has in place. It will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. At the same time, the treaty preserves the principle that the international conventional arms trade is, and will continue to be, a legitimate commercial activity that allows nations to acquire the arms they need for their own security.

By its own terms, this treaty applies only to international trade, and reaffirms the sovereign right of any State to regulate arms within its territory. As the United States has required from the outset of these negotiations, nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.



PRN: 2013/0356

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