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A United Nations flag flies on a mast at their European headquarters in Geneva June 22, 2012. - File Photo by Reuters.

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for a comprehensive conventional arms trade treaty that strikes a correct balance between motivations for production and acquisition of such arms.  

“The history and politics of arms regulation dictate a comprehensive approach which takes into account priorities of all member states in a non-discriminatory manner,” Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar, Pakistanis deputy permanent representative to the UN, told member states at a session of the first UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.

Taking place at UN Headquarters in New York, the four-week Conference has brought together the UN’s 193 Member States to negotiate what is seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the United Nations, according to the Conference officials.

They said future treaty is intended to prevent and combat illegal arms trafficking, and make a difference for millions of people confronted with insecurity, deprivation and fear.

“From Pakistan’s point of view any treaty or agreement that is aimed at regulation of conventional arms must address both the supply and demand side of the equation,” Ambassador Tarar told the conference.

“Any treaty which seeks to address only the transfer of arms but not their development, production and deployment will be internationally inequitable against countries which do not produce such armaments,” he said.

“Such a treaty would inevitably be difficult to conclude or implement,” the Pakistani envoy said. It was imperative that the treaty proposal strike a correct balance between motivation for production and acquisition of arms and ensure a balance between the legitimate interests of importers and exporters in terms of principles, scope, implementation and final provisions.

However, he said, consensus remained elusive. Clarity was needed on the types of weapons the treaty would cover. He hoped delegates coul marshal the true spirit of multilateralism, which necessitated flexibility, compromise, consensus and balance in the interests of all States.

At the outset, the Pakistani envoy said the main reason control and regulation of conventional arms had, to date, been only partially successful was the pursuit of a partial approach, particularly the attempt to separate the motivations for arms production from the controls of their trade and transfer.

Another factor was an exclusive focus on managing the effects of the trade in arms, without adequately addressing the causes that propelled such a trade in the first place.

Yet another reason was the lack of full implementation of existing regional or national commitments and obligations, he pointed out. With the Conference now moving from a deliberative mode to negotiations, Ambassador Tarar hoped that delegates begin in earnest reconciling the diversity of positions to forge consensus.

“Only a consensual outcome can ensure treaty's ownership and its effective implementation,” he added.

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