dsc_0007While I was in New York to launch the Disarm DVD, I stopped by a diplomatic meeting at the United Nations on the proposed Arms Trade Treaty. Governments had convened for the first meeting of a delightfully named “open-ended working group,” the latest phase in what has become a lengthy effort to create an international treaty to regulate government transfers of conventional weapons and small arms.

The day before I arrived the “OEWG” had considered the “feasibility” of an Arms Trade Treaty, something that 156 states viewed as feasible back in 2006 when they voted for a UNGA resolution to start the process of creating the treaty. Yet at this week’s meeting Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, and other arms exporting states continued to make speeches questioning the “feasibility” of such a treaty. That was predictable, but I did not understand why the governments supporting measures to control arms flows through an international agreement were not more forceful in defending the treaty initiative.  Unfortunately the consensus rules of these types of meetings may preclude any meaningful progress. Any swift action definitely looks unlikely.