Spotlighting Human Costs of Wide-spread Arms Transfers, First Committee Delegates Say States Must Bolster Global Response to Effectively Stem Illicit Flows

GA/DIS/3558
20 October 2016
Seventy-first Session, 16th Meeting (AM)

Spotlighting Human Costs of Wide-spread Arms Transfers, First Committee Delegates Say States Must Bolster Global Response to Effectively Stem Illicit Flows

The human cost of the global proliferation of small arms and light weapons came under the spotlight this morning as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) continued its thematic debate on conventional weapons, with delegates underscoring the importance of cooperation to strengthen relevant international agreements to save lives on the ground.

Speaking on behalf of 60 countries, the representative of France said that small arms and light weapons had killed more people than any other weapon, affecting more than 90 per cent of all victims in armed conflicts.  Their illicit trade had a wide range of humanitarian and socioeconomic consequences, in addition to threatening peace and security.  They sustained conflicts, exacerbated armed violence, undermined respect for international laws and fuelled terrorism and organized crime.

She welcomed recent initiatives, including the Arms Trade Treaty and the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, but emphasized that more needed to be done.  In that vein, she called for Member States to build on a prevailing consensus to improve the international response.

Framing the issue in financial terms, Pakistan’s delegate said more than $1.7 trillion a year were being spent on weapons, and that 33 times more money was going into fighting conflicts than on preventing them.  Efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons must not give way to an unworkable imbalance of conventional weapons similar to the one that had triggered two world wars, she added.

The representative of Thailand, on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), spoke for many when he said small arms and light weapons were “the real weapons of mass destruction”.  Jamaica’s representative called attention to the devastating impact of conventional weapons on women and children in conflict situations, adding that the gender perspective must be placed at the heart of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  “The prevalence of illicit guns and ammunition feeds the monster of crime and violence that is rampant within various parts of our island and throughout the Caribbean region,” he said.

Across other regions, speakers shared grim snapshots of the challenges at hand.  The proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Sahel was highlighted by several delegates from African States.  With about 30 million of such weapons circulating in sub-Saharan Africa, many belonging to insurgents, Senegal’s representative said States must come together more than ever to put an end to trafficking.  Ghana’s speaker said arms-producing countries must ensure that weapons go only to Governments and duly authorized entities.  “Our collective efforts to combat terrorism will not achieve the desired results if we continue to supply arms to non-State actors,” she said.

Speakers from post-conflict countries discussed another pressing challenge.  Raising the enduring issue of anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnance, the representatives of Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic said those weapons had continued to kill and maim many years after the guns of war had fallen silent.

Several delegates pointed out that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development included a goal aimed at significantly reducing illicit arms flows.  Some speakers, like Mexico’s representative, also called for ammunition to be included in the Programme of Action on Small Arms, noting that guns could only kill if they were loaded with bullets.

Paul Beijer (Sweden), Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on continuing operation and relevance of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and its further development, briefed the Committee on its work.  He said it was looking into whether the Register’s definitions were still current in light of technological developments and how to halt – and preferably reverse – a decline in reporting by Member States.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Belarus (for the Collective Security Treaty Organization), Trinidad and Tobago (for the Caribbean Community), Iraq, Japan, United States, Kuwait, Russian Federation, Senegal, Cuba, Paraguay, India, United Kingdom, Ghana, Chile, Netherlands, Germany, Costa Rica, South Africa and Israel, as well as the European Union.

The representatives of Argentina and Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 21 October, to continue its thematic debate on conventional weapons.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to resume its thematic discussion on conventional weapons.  For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3545 of 3 October.

Briefing on Conventional Weapons

PAUL BEIJER (Sweden), Chair of the Group of Governmental Experts on continuing operation and relevance of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and its further development, said reporting to the register had been declining, which was a matter of concern to all member States.  Assembled on a triannual basis to review the operation of the register, the Group of Governmental Experts had sought to address whether its definitions were current in light of technological developments and how could the declining trend of reporting be halted and, preferably, reversed.

Several changes had been made to reflect ongoing developments, he said, noting a recommendation to add a new subcategory on unmanned combat aerial vehicles.  There had been no consensus following discussions about increasing the status of small arms and light weapons by creating another category.  Some participants had said more information was needed on the potential effects of such a change.  Instead, the Group of Governmental Experts had decided to move small arms and light weapons out from under the “Additional background information” heading on a trial basis as a separate category.  The Group was also seeking to establish whether the new visibility for that important category would encourage more Member States to submit reports to the register.

Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons

VITALY MACKAY(Belarus), speaking on behalf of the member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said they were committed to fulfilling their obligations under the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.  That instrument formed the basis for coordinating international action, he said, noting that its member States were taking steps aimed at curbing the illicit arms trade in those weapons.  Emphasizing the role of regional organizations, in particular the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), he said the Collective was open to cooperation with all interested countries, groups of States and interested organizations.

NAWIN CHIRAPANT (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said small arms caused more than 200,000 casualties in conflict situations every year, rendering them “the real weapons of mass destruction”.  The impact of such weapons extended beyond crime, threatened peace and security and hampered economic and social progress, including the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Expressing support for the full and effective implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms, he reiterated the legitimate right of States to use conventional weapons for internal security and territorial integrity.

Regionally, he said, ASEAN continued to address conventional arms concerns, including smuggling, through ministerial meetings, its regional fora and annual gatherings of police chiefs.  Other activities included the work of the ASEAN Forensic Science Institute and the inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre, convened in Phnom Penh on 21 September.  Noting how women and children were disproportionately affected by conventional weapons, he said all prevention and victim assistance efforts should consider that and include victims’ voices and perspectives.

ALICE GUITTON (France), speaking on behalf of 60 countries, said that small arms and light weapons had killed more people than any other weapon, affecting more than 90 per cent of all victims in armed conflicts.  Their illicit trade had a wide range of humanitarian and socioeconomic consequences while posing a serious threat to peace and security.  Those weapons had continued to sustain conflicts and exacerbate armed violence, undermining respect for international laws and fuelling terrorism and organized crime.

She affirmed the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and the right of each State to manufacture, transfer and retain small arms and light weapons for its legitimate self-defence.  Welcoming recent international initiatives, including the Programme of Action on Small Arms, International Tracing Instrument and Arms Trade Treaty, she said that progress had created a foundation for a solid framework.  But, more needed to be done, she said, calling for Member States to build on the prevailing consensus to improve the international response, including through the adoption of a related resolution during the General Assembly’s current session.

JUDIT KÖRÖMI, European Union, said a dedicated programme was being implemented to assist 16 partner countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia to strengthen their arms control systems in line with Arms Trade Treaty requirements.  The initiative intended to continue such support in the years to come and was actively promoting the Treaty’s universalization.

As the world’s largest humanitarian donor, she said, the European Union would also continue to undertake other activities, including in mine clearance, the destruction of surplus munitions, assistance to victims and mine-risk education in the world’s most affected regions.  A gender-based approach, in line with Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), was also part of its humanitarian actions.  In that context, the European Union supported the humanitarian goal of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and called upon all actors to observe the principles of international humanitarian law.

PENNELOPE ALTHEA BECKLES (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), noting the destructive efforts of the illegal arms trade in the region, emphasized the importance of a collaborative approach.  While CARICOM was encouraged by forward momentum over the past year to regulate and monitor conventional weapons, continued global efforts must address the issue.  Noting with satisfaction progressive measures taken since the Arms Trade Treaty’s entry into force, she called on Member States that had not yet done so to ratify that instrument.  “Security challenges are best tackled when we work in concert with each other,” she said, underscoring the need for a collective approach to stem the illicit conventional arms trade.

CARICOM welcomed the successful conclusion, in June 2016, of the sixth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms.  References in its outcome document to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development had built a good foundation for the Third Programme of Action Review Conference in 2018.  Viewing the Programme of Action and the Arms Trade Treaty as mutually reinforcing, CARICOM was seeking to identify practical measures that allowed their harmonized implementation.  In that regard, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security had been drafting model Arms Trade Treaty legislation, exploring synergies between the Treaty and other arms-control instruments.  Pleased with capacity-building support and technical assistance from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, CARICOM looked forward to continued collaboration.

ALI AL-HAMDANI (Iraq), endorsing the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the proliferation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons was a source of anguish threatening human lives, security and stability.  The Programme of Action on Small Arms must be reactivated, especially with regard to trafficking.  Iraq supported the voluntary exchange of information with a view to building capacity.  Iraq remained among the countries most affected by unexploded ordinance and cluster munitions, a situation that had been made more complex by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and others who had planted land mines to undermine Iraqi military forces, he said, emphasizing that his Government needed help from the international community.

TOSHIO SANO (Japan) said the universalization of the Arms Trade Treaty was still a challenge in the Asia-Pacific region.  Emphasizing the importance of stockpile management and the synergy between the Treaty, the Programme of Action on Small Arms and the International Tracing Instrument, Japan recognized the growing need among States for international cooperation and assistance.  For its part, Japan had donated, since 1998, $670 million to programmes in 51 countries and regions on implementing provisions of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.  Referring to the matrix of contributions due under various disarmament treaties, he said Japan had received invoices for its dues at different times from August to October and upon receipt of those invoices, was taking the necessary procedures to settle them expeditiously.

TRACY HALL (United States) said the Register of Conventional Arms had been a resounding success, having established a global norm of transparency and accountability in military matters.  Its reporting had captured an estimated 90 per cent of the international trade in conventional arms.  The 2016 Group of Governmental Experts had made significant progress, making the first substantive changes to the register since 2003, he said, noting the change that had been made in the definition of combat aircraft to include armed unmanned combat aerial vehicles.  The United States had been the world’s single largest financial supporter of humanitarian mine action activities and remained committed to addressing the issue of poorly secured conventional weapons and munitions stockpiles.

RAFAEI AL MUTAIRI (Kuwait) expressed grave concern over the illicit and unregulated trade in small arms and light weapons.  The proliferation of such weapons had many humanitarian consequences and endangered peace and security.  He called on States to exert more efforts to prevent the delivery of such weapons to non-State actors.  Kuwait was committed to the Programme of Action on Small Arms and the International Tracing Instrument.  While he welcomed the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, it needed to be implemented in a manner that ensured the legitimate self-defence right of States, while maintaining a balance between import and export States.

CLAUDIA GARCIA (Mexico) said the 2030 Agenda included a universal commitment to stem the illicit weapons trade, which threatened most States.  Stamping out cross-border smuggling required cooperation between States, including establishing national and regional measures to strengthen controls.  The control of ammunition was a significant pending issue for the Programme of Action on Small Arms.  Underscoring the importance of the Arms Trade Treaty, she called for its full implementation and universalization.  Existing instruments were insufficient and redoubled efforts were needed to eradicate the illicit market and prevent weapons from reaching organized crime and terrorist groups.  Doing so required analysis, recommendations and a road map.  Turning to cluster munitions, she welcomed achievements made in stigmatizing and eliminating such weapons, adding that Mexico had undertaken a number of initiatives to look at the ethical and technical dilemmas resulting from new weapon technologies.

VLADIMIR YERMAKOV (Russian Federation) said implementing conventional arms instruments was no less important than complying with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction.  Of key concern was the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects.  The Russian Federation supported strengthening that Convention and its five protocols, it being the only international instrument that had struck a balance between humanitarian concerns and the national security of States parties.  Universalizing that Convention would be the most effective way of strengthening its regime.

Turning to the Register of Conventional Arms, he expressed major concerns about the Group of Governmental Experts with regard to lethal autonomous weapons systems.  Noting the results of informal discussions could not be called encouraging, he said the Russian Federation was prepared to address the matter further.  The Russian Federation shared the principles and purposes of the Mine Ban Convention and had participated in humanitarian demining operations, including in the Syrian city of Palmyra, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) heritage site.  Given that anti-personnel mines were still a reliable way to ensure national security and defence in some areas of unrest within its territory, the Russian Federation could not join the Mine Ban Convention.  Turning to the Programme of Action on Small Arms, he supported its implementation.  Regarding the Arms Trade Treaty, he said the instrument had not demonstrated its viability or effectiveness, as its standards were lower than those that were being applied in national export control systems of leading weapons-producing States.  As such, he did not understand the need for a document that had not been complied with since it had entered into force.

ISIDOR MARCEL SENE (Senegal) said the Sahel region had been confronted by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, violent extremism and crimes committed by terrorist groups.  With about 30 million of such weapons circulating in sub-Saharan Africa, many belonging to insurgents, he said States must come together more than ever to put an end to trafficking. In Senegal, a national commission had been set up alongside educational initiatives related to the Arms Trade Treaty.  Highlighting the continued devastating effects small arms and light weapons in conflict and post-conflict situations, he said women and children were the major casualties.  He expressed support for the implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and International Tracing Instrument.  Turning to other concerns, he said the Mine Ban Convention must be fully implemented, with the destruction of cluster munitions being best way to respect its norms.

RODOLFO BENÍTEZ VERSON (Cuba) said the stark imbalance that favoured developed countries was threatening international peace and security.  Leaders in the manufacturing, trade and use of conventional weapons were attempting to impose international norms to hinder their legitimate use for defence purposes.  Rejecting that double standard, he said the priority should be the control and regulation of the most destructive conventional weapons, ones that caused the highest levels of collateral damage.  Defending the right of States to manufacture and export weapons to meet their legitimate defence needs, he expressed support for the Programme of Action on Small Arms and the International Tracing Instrument.  Yet, a number of ambiguities had undermined the effectiveness and efficiency of the Arms Trade Treaty, which had given privileges to weapon-exporting States to the detriment of others and had established subjective parameters that could be easily manipulated in the denial of arms transfers.

ENRIQUE CARRILLO GÓMEZ (Paraguay), calling for the universalization of international instruments dealing with conventional weapons, urged Member States to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms.  Member States must ensure that sufficient regulatory frameworks were in place and that women’s participation was promoted in related debates and decisions.  While Governments bore the primary responsibility for fighting the illicit arms trade, that principle should not be interpreted in a way that would violate the right of Member States to legitimate individual or collective defence.  International cooperation played an important role in capacity building and training for arms tracing and identification.

RY TUY (Cambodia), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said ending the flow of arms would require strong international norms, including the Programme of Action on Small Arms, which his Government had integrated into its national agenda.  Cambodia was concerned by the rise in the illicit manufacture, transfer and spread of small arms and light weapons and their excessive accumulation and proliferation.  It was therefore important to work collectively on arms control, including preventing and suppressing arms smuggling.  Cambodia was working to develop a draft ASEAN convention against trafficking in firearms, which would complement the Arms Trade Treaty and help States in the region to deal with diverse national challenges in the fight against illicit weapons trade.

COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica) said the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons disrupted peaceful societies by undermining security and the rule of law.  “The prevalence of illicit guns and ammunition feeds the monster of crime and violence that is rampant within various parts of our island and throughout the Caribbean region,” he said.  Jamaica had made a deliberate and conscious effort to work with partners at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels to effectively respond to the challenges posed by conventional weapons.  In that regard, the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and the successful convening of the second Conference of States Parties represented examples of achievements.  To make further progress, Jamaica intended to draft a regulatory framework to govern the movement of conventional arms, undertake further amendments to its Firearms Act to improve transparency and efficiency and acquire equipment to assist in the detection, interception and seizure of conventional arms.  He went on to draw attention to the devastating impact that the use of conventional weapons had had on women and children within conflict settings.  The gender perspective must be placed at the centre of efforts to ensure prospects for meaningful progress on conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping.

SIDDHARTHA NATH (India) said the illicit transfer of conventional weapons was a major threat to international peace and security and an impediment to the full realization of the 2030 Agenda.  The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons remained the only instrument that brought together all the main users and producers, ensuring greater prospects of making a meaningful impact on the ground.  The Convention should continue considering ways and means for the progressive development of rules of international law that were applicable to advanced conventional weapons, particularly ones that would have devastating and indiscriminate effects.

ELEONORA SAGGESE (United Kingdom) said that when States failed to control the supply and sale of small arms and light weapons, they jeopardized the safety and security of innocent people while fuelling instability and threatening international peace and security.  Efforts to better regulate legitimate transfers contributed to the prevention of diversion, unauthorized re-export and illicit trade and supported the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 16.4.  For its part, the United Kingdom continued to provide technical and financial support to States looking to improve their controls against the diversion and illicit proliferation of those weapons and had committed over £1.6 million for weapons and ammunition management and other counter-proliferation projects.

MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE (Ghana), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said supplying small arms and light weapons to non-State actors barred the path to sustainable peace.  She appealed to arms-producing countries to ensure that those weapons were supplied only to Governments and duly authorized entities.  “Our collective efforts to combat terrorism will not achieve the desired results if we continue to supply arms to non-State actors,” she said.  With like-minded States, Ghana called for the regulation and control of ammunition to be included in the implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and it would continue to pursue that matter in appropriate multilateral fora.  Emphasizing the critical role played by regional organizations, civil society groups and women, she welcomed resolution 2242 (2015), which encouraged the empowerment of women in addressing the issue of small arms and light weapons.

CLAUDIO GARRIDO MELO (Chile), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), said one of the “highest peaks of synergy” between international humanitarian law and disarmament was the Mine Ban Convention, which his Government had worked towards strengthening with a view to achieving a mine-free world by 2025.  As host of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention, Chile had proposed three thematic issues for discussion: international cooperation; demining and gender; and the necessary security conditions and minimum standards for removal tasks.  He also introduced a draft resolution relating to implementing the Convention, calling on States parties to address issues arising from outstanding dues and from recently implemented United Nations financial and accounting practices.

TEHMINA JANJUA (Pakistan), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement, said efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons must not give way to an unworkable imbalance of conventional weapons similar to those that had triggered two world wars.  Spending on conventional arms had surpassed $1.7 trillion, she said, adding that the total budget of the United Nations was around 3 per cent of world military expenditures and that 33 times more money was being spent on fuelling and exacerbating conflicts than on preventing them.   She expressed Pakistan’s concern over growing transfers of conventional weapons in volatile regions, adding that a policy of double standards in South Asia based on narrow strategic, political and commercial considerations must be eschewed.  Results would be few and far between if the issue of conventional weapons was not addressed in a comprehensive manner.

MARK VERSTEDEN (Netherlands) said improvised explosive devices were a growing concern and his Government looked favourably on the current session’s resolution on the subject.  The Netherlands had been honoured to serve in 2016 as President of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and strongly believed it was possible to make cluster munitions a thing of the past.  Since its entry into force, the Arms Trade Treaty had set a strong international norm against irresponsible arms transfers and the Conference of States Parties needed to address substantive issues on its universalization and implementation.  Progress was being made toward the goal of implementing all outstanding commitments of the Mine Ban Convention by 2025.  The Netherlands also supported further discussions on small arms and light weapons as well as explosive weapons used in populated areas.

MICHAEL BIONTINO (Germany), introducing a draft resolution on the “Consolidation of peace through practical disarmament measures”, asked for the Committee’s support.  Welcoming progress on the Register of Conventional Weapons, he said the inclusion of small arms and light weapons would make it an even more valuable tool.  For its part, Germany stood ready to offer support and was empowering States to help them measure their implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16.4.  His Government remained committed to promoting the universalization of the Arms Trade Treaty, which was an indispensable means to prevent illicit arms transfers.  Turning to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, he said the use those weapons in Syria and Yemen demonstrated their devastating effects, emphasizing how the Convention was needed more than ever before.  He called on all States that had not yet done so to accede or ratify the Convention.  In conclusion, he condemned the failed ballistic missile launch of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in October.

ROLANDO CASTRO CORDOBA (Costa Rica) called for greater efforts to examine the complex regime of conventional weapons.  Highlighting the enormous challenge of implementing the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, he said increased synergies among instruments were needed and robust standards must be developed to address the excessive stockpiling of weapons.  Having experienced the violence triggered by the spread of small arms and light weapons, Costa Rica was building its national capacity to combat that scourge.  Although the illicit arms trade persisted, she welcomed measures that had been taken and expressed hope that the Programme of Action on Small Arms Review Conference would address the ethical and technical concerns that had been raised in 2013 about lethal autonomous weapons systems.  In that vein, she called for the establishment of an open working group to draft a convention that would prohibit those new types of conventional weapon technologies.

KERSHNEY CHANTELLE NAIDOO (South Africa) said growing membership in the Arms Trade Treaty was evidence that many countries shared its vision and goals.  Its full and effective implementation would tangibly contribute to promoting international and regional peace while reducing human suffering by addressing the scourge of armed violence.  South Africa was a responsible manufacturer, possessor and trader in conventional arms, she said, calling on all States that had not yet done so to ratify or accede to the Treaty.  The implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms had already made a marked impact on their illicit trade and circulation, complementing related efforts at the regional level, including the Southern African Development Community Regional Protocol on the Control of Firearms.

MAYA YARON (Israel) said the Middle East had unfortunately served as a laboratory for terror activities where oppressive regimes, terrorist organizations, organized crime networks and other non-State actors continued to wreak havoc.  Conventional weapons and their proliferation posed grave threats, as those arms were being acquired in the region in unprecedented quantities.  Some States had encouraged, supported and backed terrorist organizations through financing, training and transferring large quantities of sophisticated weapons.  For instance, Iran had used proxy organizations to inflict terror while the Syrian regime used weapons against its own population.  Israel was determined to counter that growing peril, she said, calling for strict implementation of Security Council resolutions and international norms and standards.

SOULIKONE SAMOUNTY (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) stressed the significance of humanitarian concerns resulting from the use of conventional weapons.  Although conventional weapons did not have the same effect as weapons of mass destruction, they had long-term consequences.  The explosive remnants of war created humanitarian problems and inflicted unacceptable harm on the livelihood of affected populations.  They also erected serious obstacles to the social and economic development of many countries.  Expressing concern about the wide range of security and humanitarian effects caused by the illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, he supported the Programme of Action on Small Arms in tackling those challenges.

Right of Reply

The representative of Argentina, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the Malvinas Islands had been illegally occupied by the United Kingdom and remained the subject of a sovereignty dispute.  Given that situation, Argentina had been unable to clear mines and unexploded ordnance in the Malvinas Islands, he said, making reference to the Mine Ban Convention.

The representative of Syria said Israeli officers were involved in the illicit arms trade.  The Israeli entity was supplying armed terrorist groups in Syria with all types of weaponry and ammunition, including chemical materials.  Syria had sent a message to the Security Council on that issue, he said, adding that the Israeli entity was in breach of all instruments dealing with conventional and non-conventional weapons and with relevant Security Council resolutions.

For information media. Not an official record.