Moscow offers ban on selling small arms, light weapons to non-government t users

Russia has called on the world to agree on selling small arms and light weapons only to authorized dealers of importer countries, Russian Foreign Ministry security and disarmament department head Alexander Deineko said in an interview with Interfax.

Russia has suggested a set of measures, which would tighten control over the distribution of small arms and light weapons, primarily in the areas where the risk of an arms leak to the black market is high, he said.

"For instance, we may agree to ban the selling of small arms and light weapons to non-governmental end users," he said.

"We define as non-governmental users terrorists, extremists and others using armaments for criminal purposes," Deineko said.

Although the Russian initiative is obvious and it enjoys support of the Non-Aligned Movement and African countries, it made only partial progress at the Second Review Conference of the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects held in New York City in late August - early September, the diplomat noted.

"The same problem has occurred in the context of the Arms Trade Treaty. No one raised objections to our proposal of adding a provision about the delivery of conventional armaments exclusively to governments or their authorized dealers. In fact, any objections are impossible. But our proposal was not supported either," Deineko said.

He recalled that the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty held in July approved neither the treaty nor the draft.

"Instead, delegates adopted a brief factual report to the UN General Assembly. The draft treaty was attached to the conference report as a personal document of its chairperson," he said.

Asked about Russia's critique of the draft treaty, Deineko said, "It is mostly dedicated to the evaluation of risks in prospective use of armaments, i.e. the sphere, which bears no direct relation to the subject of the treaty - arms trade."

"It also bears no relation to another problem: the possible leaks of arms through legal trade loopholes and black market into the wrong hands," he said.

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