23 July 2001



NEW YORK, 21 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the conclusion of the Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms:

The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the news today that the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects was able to reach a consensus on many important first steps in alleviating this grave threat to international peace and security and to human security. He praises these steps as essential in building norms and in implementing collective measures against this global scourge.

The Secretary-General congratulates the Conference’s President, Ambassador Camilo Reyes, of Colombia, for his patient and ultimately successful efforts to forge a consensus among the many diverse views and interests represented at this important event. He also congratulates those States, particularly from Africa -- the region most afflicted by the problems associated with this illicit trade -- that demonstrated their willingness to compromise during these deliberations in order to begin this historic process of constructive global action to combat this common challenge -- recognizing its multi-faceted complexity.

Welcoming the constructive participation at this Conference by individuals and groups from civil society from across the globe, the Secretary-General also calls upon all the peoples of the United Nations to support and encourage their leaders in government both to consolidate today’s gains and to take additional steps to address this threat. He notes in particular the great potential benefits for all States from improved controls over both the uncontrolled private ownership of military-standard weapons and, even more critical, the transfer of such arms to non-State groups. He looks forward to the implementation of the agreed measures and the follow-up to the Conference in which the United Nations will play a major role.

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