11 July 2006

Secretary-General Disappointed Small Arms Conference Ended Without Agreement, but Says Global Community Committed to Action Plan to Curtail Illicit Trade

NEW YORK, 10 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is disappointed that the United Nations Conference to review the implementation of the Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons has ended without agreeing on an outcome document.

He notes, however, that many States sent high-level representatives to the conference, and that many civil society groups contributed energetically to its discussions.  To that extent, the Conference did succeed in recalling the issue of small arms and light weapons to the attention of the international community, which clearly remains committed to the Programme of Action as the main framework for measures to curtail the illegal trade in these weapons.

Delegates from all parts of the world reaffirmed that the most urgent task is to take firm steps to control illicit arms brokers.  This issue will be studied in depth by a United Nations intergovernmental expert group, which will hold its first session in November.

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