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Progress And Inaction In Fight Against Small Arms

Annan Sees Both Progress And Inaction In Fight Against Illicit Spread Of Small Arms

The Security Council has made great strides in its efforts to enable countries to trace illicit small arms and light weapons, but the interaction between the Council and the General Assembly on some designated programmes needs more coordination, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report.

Besides the progress in cooperating to trace the weapons, advances had been made in the systematic establishment of monitoring mechanisms to support the implementation of sanctions and the adoption of more vigorous measures against violation of arms embargoes, he says.

The Council and Assembly needed to work together more closely on other issues involving small arms and light weapons (SALW) and on providing support for a proposed Small Arms Advisory Service (SAAS) - for which no Member State had offered any funds - and the reintegration of former combatants into their communities.

More remained to be done, too, about “the links between illicit small arms and light weapons and the illicit exploitation of natural and other resources,” as well as the trade in illicit drugs, Mr. Annan says.

“I am particularly pleased to note the progress being made on the issue of illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons, which has been an area of concern, particularly in connection with activities of terrorist groups,” he says.

He expresses pleasure that Canada has joined the United States in providing funding for the International Criminal Police Organization’s (INTERPOL) Weapons and Explosives Tracking System (IWETS) and the study of technical, user access and legal issues involved.

As chairman of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on a future international instrument to enable States to trace small weapons, Swiss Ambassador Anton Thalmann has been holding discussions on the first draft, including recommendations on marking, record-keeping and international cooperation, Mr. Annan says.

Mr. Thalmann has also visited INTERPOL headquarters in Lyons, France, to broach the subject of using IWETS for small arms tracing, as well.

He also recommends that the Council and Assembly “establish a small committee” to look into how the two bodies can work together on preventing and eradicating illicit small arms trade.

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