Russia Undecided on Arms Trade Treaty

By Kimball, Daryl G. | Arms Control Today, June 2014 | Go to article overview

Russia Undecided on Arms Trade Treaty


Kimball, Daryl G., Arms Control Today


Russia has not decided whether to sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a Russian official said last month, apparently contradicting an earlier report by the state-run voice of Russia broadcasting service.

In a may 21 e-mail to Arms Control Today, mikhail Ulyanov, director of the department for nonproliferation and arms con- trol at the Russian ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that "as of now, there is no decision on joining the ATT or not."

The inquiry to Ulyanov was prompted by a may 20 voice of Russia report saying moscow had decided not to join the ATT.

"We see both positive and negative aspects, all of which will be taken into account," Ulyanov said in the e-mail. One posi- tive feature is the requirement for states to create or improve their national export control systems, he said. "But the list of the treaty's drawbacks is also pretty long," said Ulyanov, who was Russia's chief negotiator during the multilateral talks that produced the ATT last year.

Russia has been criticized by many Western governments for continuing to supply the Bashar al-Assad regime, which has attacked civilian population centers throughout the three- year-old civil conflict in Syria. The ATT prohibits arms trans- fers if the supplier state "has knowledge at the time of authori- zation that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes. …

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