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Cablegate: Africans to Push for Arms Trade Treaty

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P 231354Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
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INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7392
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4520
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2914
RHMFIUU/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
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RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002247

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/E, PM, ISN

E.O.12958: N /A
TAGS: PARM ETRD ETTC MASS PREL KE
SUBJECT: AFRICANS TO PUSH FOR ARMS TRADE TREATY

-------
Summary
-------

1. Representatives from 20 African governments attended a
conference in Nairobi September 3-4 to discuss the need for
an international arms trade treaty. While acknowledging
the need for implementation of a number of existing
regional agreements, participants broadly agreed that an
international treaty should be discussed as a priority
during the October meeting of the UN General Assembly First
Committee. End Summary.

---------------------------------
Untamed Arms Trade Bad for Africa
---------------------------------

2. On September 3, Kenya hosted representatives from 20
African governments as well as other representatives from
regional organizations and civil society to discuss
international arms transfers and the need for an Arms Trade
Treaty. Three UK-based organizations (Oxfam UK,
Saferworld, and IANSA) organized the conference.
Government representatives included: Algeria, Burundi,
Djibouti, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali,
Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia,
South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. Regional
organization representatives included: the African Union,
Arab League, East African Community, Economic Community of
West African States, Regional Centre on Small Arms, and the
Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation
Organization.

3. Kenya's Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Richard
Onyonka delivered the keynote speech and emphasized the
negative impact armed violence had on the African continent
and how greater efforts must be made to control the flow of
arms into Africa. He noted that 95 percent of the arms in
Africa were manufactured in foreign countries and said that
"ineffective controls over unscrupulous arms brokers and
irresponsible decisions geared more toward national
interests rather than international or regional security
result in weapons being sent directly to or being diverted
to unauthorized end-users."

-----------------------------
Time for an Arms Trade Treaty
-----------------------------

4. Participants at the conference favored an international
arms trade treaty and resolved to recommend to the UN
General Assembly's First Committee that the matter be taken up as a

matter of urgency in October. There are a number of
agreements in Africa that already attempt to stem the flow
of illegal small arms, and conference participants agreed
that those agreements contain many of the elements that
could inform a global treaty.

5. Daniel Prins, the Chief of the Conventional Weapons
Branch at the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, added his
support for an arms trade treaty. He told the media that a
treaty is needed because many countries that are importing
and exporting weapons have no framework of rules under
which they operate, and that there are now over 100
countries that produce arms. There are an estimated 650
million guns in circulation around the world, and another
eight million are added each year, Prins said. He also
noted that that two years ago, 153 states voted in favor of
an arms trade treaty, 24 states abstained, and the U.S.
voted against the treaty, citing already existing strict
national rules for arms exports by major arms trading
countries.

---------------------------
Suggested Treaty Provisions
---------------------------

6. In their final statement, participants agreed that an
arms trade treaty should:

-- prevent arms transfers where there is a clear likelihood
that they may be used to commit serious violations of

NAIROBI 00002247 002.2 OF 002


international human rights law or international
humanitarian law, or to undermine peace, security and
socio-economic development;

-- take fully into account the recipient's record of
compliance with its commitments in the areas of non-
proliferation, arms and munitions control and disarmament;

-- take into account the recipient's capacity to ensure the
integrity and security of the arms received;

-- draw from existing instruments, including those in
Africa that aim to regulate arms transfers;

-- include as a criterion for arms transfers the risk of
diversion to unauthorised persons including non-state
actors or possible use for harmful purposes. In this
regard, end-users and/or end-use assurances should play an
important role;

-- include sanctions for continued end-user violations;

-- have a broad scope, encompassing all conventional
weapons, including small arms and light weapons and their
ammunition, components of weapons, dual-use equipment and
equipment with a military end-use, and arms production
equipment and technology. The scope should further include
landmines and other conventional weapons already covered by
international weapon-specific agreements, and technical
support and operational training for the use of the above
items; and

-- encompass all transfers of weapons including imports,
exports, re-exports, transit and transhipment, brokering
and related activities, licenses or agreements for foreign
arms production, gifts, loans and leasing, Government to
Government transfers, and those between their agents and
the Qtransfer of titleQ of any items.

-----------------
Treaty Monitoring
-----------------

7. Participants also agreed that in order to ensure
effective monitoring and verification of arms transfers, an
international arms trade treaty should require:

-- regular annual reporting on transfers by states to a UN
registry;

-- transparency through inter alia regular reporting of
states to the UN register;

-- transparency at the national level;

-- greater focus on the exchange of information by law-
enforcement agencies; and

-- dedicated institutional capacity at the national level
to ensure the fulfilment of substantive reporting and
information exchange provisions under an arms trade treaty;
and

8. Finally, participants agreed that the treaty should make
provisions for international cooperation and assistance to
ensure developing states acquire the capacity to implement
the treaty provisions at the national level. This, they
said, could include both financial and technical assistance
for such states in the establishment, implementation and
enforcement of national control systems.
RANNEBERGER

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