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Annan Lauds Progress Against Arms Smuggling

Annan Lauds Progress Against Arms Smuggling, Calls For Accord Against Illicit Arms Dealing

New York, Jul 11 2005

Congratulating the international community on its willingness to work together on combating illicit trading of small arms and light weapons, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for speedy additional efforts to negotiate a new, legally binding instrument against illicit arms dealing in preparation for the largest UN summit ever, scheduled to meet in September.

In a message delivered by Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Nobuyasu Abe at the opening at UN Headquarters in New York of the Second Biennial Meeting of States reviewing their progress in implementing policy decisions on eliminating weapons smuggling, Mr. Annan said, "I am delighted to note the progress so far."

"More than 60 States have established national coordinating bodies and many have developed national action plans to address the problem of proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons," he added.

"We must not relax our efforts to combat the scourge of illicit small arms and light weapons, which continue to kill, maim and displace scores of thousands of innocent people every year."

Citing his UN reform report, "In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All," which will be the major item on the agenda of the summit Mr. Annan is convening, he urged the international community "to expedite negotiations on a legally binding instrument to combat illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons," adding, "I hope the World Summit will provide high-level impetus toward this goal."

The five-day Second Biennial Meeting of States comes just after the end of the most recent meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group drafting the binding instrument to enable Governments to identify, trace and stop the movement of illicit small arms and light weapons around the world, he said.

According to an expert report to the General Assembly two years ago, Member States said a key element in implementing the "Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects" is the ability to trace such illicit weapons and identify their origins.

"I am encouraged by the Working Group's agreement on a draft instrument," Mr. Annan said. "It is an important step towards realizing commitments under the Programme of Action and I am hopeful that it augurs well not only for the success of the Second Biennial Meeting, but also for the 2005 World Summit this September."


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