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UN Arms Trade Treaty Opening Stalled on Question of Palestine, Ammo Is Easy?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 -- Ban Ki-moon was slated to speak at 10:30 am Monday at the opening of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. But it did not happen. The opening was delayed, at least until Monday afternoon. Why?

On June 29 in a nearly empty UN North Lawn building, two representatives of the Palestinian Mission to the UN sat talking with the Argentine chair of the ATT. Nothing was resolved. On July 2, sources in the North Lawn told Inner City Press a dispute arose about where and how to seat Palestine.

As Inner City Press exclusively reported on June 8, Palestine after being voted into UNESCO next participated in the Law of the Sea event, which it had been seeking since 1974. And now the ATT.

At 1:30 pm on Monday, after asking questions at Security Council stakeouts by Navi Pillay and French Ambassador Gerard Araud, Inner City Press asked the Argentine chair of the ATT about the Palestine issue. It is not resolved yet, he exclusively told Inner City Press. They are talking about it right now.

Two representatives of the Holy Sea moved past the stakeout and into the garage. They are a precedent; there are others. Watch this site.

Footnote: In an NGO press conference last week previewing the ATT, the word "Palestine" did not arise. (Nor does it in this derivative wire story.) This, however, was asked and answered:

Q: the US/Mexico dispute. The NRA has been mentioned. It has its internal political issues on this. Some have said ammunition shouldn't be covered. How do you expect this issue will play out in July?

Abramson: Are you talking about ammunition in particular? There were a couple disputes in February. ... It's my expectation that ammunition will be included in the treaty. It's really a very small number of countries, including the United States, who are arguing against it. And it's a little bit nonsensical for the United States, actually because the United States already licenses the import and export of weapons, so functionally they're arguing for a standard lower than what they already do. I think they understand that. You've already started hearing the United States talk about, if you provide us with a workable solution we'll work at that. So I'm relatively confident that that issue can be worked through, in part because it's just insane to think of this treaty without ammunition. When you're talking about the harms caused by guns, it's not the gun, it's the bullet. If you're talking about the issue where you're asking, will this make a difference? The guns, they have a long life span. If you really want to control their harm, you have to control the expendable item, which is the ammunition. And multiple countries are making this case. So I do expect that be resolved.

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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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