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Annan ‘Encouraged’ By Action To Combat Small Arms

Annan ‘Encouraged’ By Regional, Sub-Regional Action To Combat Small Arms Trade

New York, Aug 23 2005 5:00PM

Encouraging regional and sub-regional efforts to curb gun violence can pave the way for further action at the global level, especially wider implementation of a 2001 United Nations accord aimed at combating illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report.

In his report on assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons, Mr. Annan notes that over the past year, regional organizations carried out many activities to implement the action plan adopted by the July 2001 Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

He highlights Africa, where conference focusing on the Great Lakes region held in Nairobi, Kenya, adopted a declaration on best practices and common standards to curb the threat posed by small arms. In West Africa, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in March to review a draft convention that would transform the current voluntary ECOWAS moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of light weapons in that region into a legally binding treaty.

Among other things, the report notes improved collaboration among the members of the Coordinating Action on Small Arms (CASA) mechanism, which was established by Mr. Annan in 1998 and consists of 16 UN entities. In response to requests for assistance form the Government of Burundi, an inter-agency fact-finding mission was dispatched to that country last February. It concluded that after 10 years of civil war, the proliferation of light weapons was a “serious and widespread problem” that equally affected Burundi’s neighbours.

The report also highlights the significance of the politically binding draft international instrument on tracing weapons, which was agreed upon by an open-ended working group last June. Mr. Annan says that under the accord’s requirements for marking small arms and record-keeping, States would commit themselves to, among other things, provide prompt, timely and reliable responses to tracing requests made by other States.

ENDS

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