Iran, North Korea, and Syria blocked adoption of a UN treaty that would regulate the multibillion-dollar international arms trade for the first time, saying it fails to ban sales to terrorists, but other countries refused to let the treaty die. The treaty's adoption required agreement by all 193 UN member states, but some countries said yesterday they would ask Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to bring the final draft before the General Assembly for adoption as soon as possible.
"This is not failure," British ambassador Jo Adamson said. "Today is success deferred, and deferred by not very long." There has never been an international treaty regulating the estimated $60 billion global arms trade. For more than a decade, activists and some governments have been pushing for international rules to try to keep illicit weapons out of the hands of terrorists, insurgent fighters, and organized crime. After two weeks of intensive negotiations, many delegates had been optimistic that consensus was within reach, but Iran, North Korea and Syria announced they could not support the treaty. This was the second attempt in eight months to get countries with very different interests behind an Arms Trade Treaty. (Read more arms sales stories.)