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On ATT, Japan Pressed Out of Statement of 71, Of Koreas & Occupying Powers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 20 -- For the Arms Trade Treaty, the deadline is now one week away. The UN official who is staffing the talks has said to have a treaty by Friday, July 27, agreement would have to be reached by Wednesday, July 25.

  In this context during a July 20 open meeting covered by Inner City Press a statement by 71 countries was read out by Malawi. It focused on "backbone concepts" to "prevent authorization of transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that those weapons would be, inter alia:

- used for, or facilitate, serious violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law,

- having a destabilizing effect or exacerbating existing conflicts,

- diverted to unauthorized end users."

  The back story to these backbone concepts is that initial co-authors of the Treaty such as Australia -- which is running for a seat on the UN Security Council -- and the UK are not on the statement.

  Multiple sources tell Inner City Press that they pressured Japan to drop OFF of the statement, a decision made by Japan's head of delegation but disagreed with by other Japanese diplomats.

  Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea both opposed the ATT covering "transfers," wanting it limited to "exports." They cite the difficulty of assessing trans-shipments as their reason. South Korea and Japan on these have the same position as Iran.

  Iran joined in a proposal by Cuba to change the criterion of "violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law" to a reference to violations of the UN Charter, and to prohibit arms transfers to "occupying powers," with an eye on Israel, cited as a top twenty arms exporter and importer.

 South Korea also wanted to modify the reference to international law to include reference to arms embargoes under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter -- clearly, to get at North Korea / DPRK.

  This Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which the chair referred to as Democratic Republic of Korea, spoke out against the "excessive production and export" of weapons.

  The US, which is opposing including ammunition, reported intoned that "weapons can be good." France spoke, against without reference to or explanation of its airdropping of weapons into the Nafusa Mountains of Libya.

  The UK has been asked about its non-presence in the Group of 71, and of any role in pressuring Japan to drop out of what would have been a Group of 72. If and when a response is provided it will be published. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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