The European Union says that U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty will fail to “contribute to the ongoing efforts to encourage transparency in the international arms trade, to prevent illicit trafficking and to combat the diversion of conventional arms.”
The statement from EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini followed Friday’s announcement by the United States president during an annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The White House said the decision was in the interests of U.S. sovereignty, while the treaty fails to make the world more safe because too many other countries – among them China and Russia – have rejected it too.
That’s not the case, said other world leaders including Mogherini.
“The unregulated arms trade continues to cause major suffering in many parts of the world, fueling conflicts, terrorism and organized crime. Small arms and light weapons kill around 500,000 people every year, in addition to the victims of other conventional weapons,” the EU statement said.
African nations are among those directly impacted. At the time of the treaty’s entry into force in 2014, the Oxfam organization estimated that armed violence was costing the continent USD$18 billion each year – a figure cited from their own investigation in the years that led up to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
The UN also responded to the Trump decision in a statement.
“The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the only global instrument aimed at improving transparency and accountability in the international arms trade. It is a landmark achievement in the efforts to ensure responsibility in international arms transfers,” said the UN spokesman for Secretary General António Guterres. “This is particularly important in present times, when we witness growing international tensions and renewed interest in expanding and modernizing arsenals.”
Image: MINUSCA file