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Combating Illicit Small Arms Trafficking

Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC

CARICOM-U.S. Initiative to Combat Illicit Trafficking In Small Arms and Light Weapons

Today, the United States and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States pledged to enhance regional cooperation to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons in the region. Illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons poses a serious threat to the security of the Western Hemisphere because this thriving black market provides weapons to terrorist groups, drug traffickers, gangs, and other criminal organizations.

The United States and CARICOM Member States outlined concrete and practical measures they will undertake to address illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons throughout the region. The initiative is a follow-on to the agreement between the CARICOM Foreign Ministers and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on March 22, 2006, which called for cooperation to combat illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons.

This commitment was reaffirmed during the U.S.-CARICOM Heads of Government Summit during the June 2007 Conference on the Caribbean in Washington. The United States and CARICOM Member States urge other states in the hemisphere to join this effort.

The United States will examine ways to improve bilateral, sub-regional, and regional cooperation to address illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons. Such measures will include the provision of technical, financial, or other assistance, as appropriate, to regional partners.

The United States identified several areas where it will increase its law enforcement cooperation with countries participating in this initiative. Specifically, the United States committed to provide partners assistance in strengthening their import/export controls, end-user checks, stockpile management and security practices, destruction of surplus and illicit stocks of small arms and light weapons, and interdiction capabilities through the tracing of weapons seized.

Released on December 3, 2007


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