BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- A group of non-proliferation experts from Africa, China and the European Union (EU) urged UN member states to fix loopholes in the drafted Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Friday.
A strong and robust ATT should be secured to prevent lives from being destroyed by the arms trade, the nine-member Africa-China-EU Expert Working Group (EWG) on Conventional Arms said in a statement ahead of UN-led negotiations on the issue scheduled for Monday.
The EWG, created in 2012, identified several weaknesses in the draft text, including the absence of many categories of conventional arms and only partial controls on ammunition.
The risk that weapons could be diverted to unauthorized end-users also needed to be taken far more seriously, said the statement, a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua.
UN member states failed last July to agree on the much-anticipated global ATT, which is designed to regulate the multi-billion-dollar business and expected to be the UN's most important attempt at conventional arms regulation.
"If countries were to adopt a common set of robust and legally binding standards, they would demonstrate not only their shared responsibility for the harmful effects of the arms trade, but also their shared interest in bringing it under control. This is the aim of the ATT and this is why we support it," the statement read.
Global trade in conventional weapons remains poorly regulated. Many governments have voiced concern over the absence of agreed rules for all countries to guide their decisions on arms transfers. Preparations to address this issue have been underway since 2006.
Arms control organizations and activists have voiced strong support for the treaty's approval and expressed grave concern over its failure.
The EWG, including three Chinese experts, has been working with an EU-supported project hosted by non-governmental organization Saferworld to promote dialogue, interaction and practical cooperation between Africa, China and the EU on conventional arms control.
China supports the international community taking necessary measures to regulate the international arms trade and combat illicit transfer and trafficking of arms, and pledges to study all relevant issues with other parties in the UN framework in a highly responsible and earnest manner, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on its website.