United Nations—UN negotiations to establish the first international treaty on the multibillion-dollar arms trade ended without a deal on Friday, with some diplomats blaming the United States for the deadlock. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was "disappointed" that member states failed to clinch an agreement after several years of preparatory work and four weeks of negotiations, calling it a "setback."
But he vowed "steadfast" commitment to obtaining a "robust" arms trade treaty, noting that countries had agreed to pursue negotiations. "There is already considerable common ground and states can build on the hard work that has been done during these negotiations," he added.
Some diplomats said Washington had refused to vote on the proposed text, saying it needed more time before the midnight deadline and was worried about a pushback from the US Congress. Russia and other countries followed suit. "It's the fault of the United States that we failed," a Western diplomat said, requesting anonymity to speak freely about the subject.
"They derailed the process and we will have to wait for the US presidential elections" in November to get out of the impasse, the diplomat added. Conference chairman Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina acknowledged that some countries had objected to the final treaty draft.
The UN General Assembly, which begins its new session in late September, will decide whether and when there will be more negotiations. "We always thought this was going be difficult and that this outcome was a possible one," said Moritan. But he predicted that delegates would have a treaty in their hands "soon."—AFP