armesIt is no longer strange to hear talks about arms and weapons nowadays. Yet, the fundamental question that continues to linger in the minds of many is “What is being done by home States and the international system to control their circulation, highly nourished by the juicy trade involved”? Since its becoming effective on December 24 2014, over 90 States have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and some 41 are still pending. Perhaps an understanding of the development of the ATT, actors and the geopolitics involved can help paint a clearer picture of the situation.
Interestingly, of the world’s top 10 arms producers, only 5 of them (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) have ratified the ATT. What about the others? what about those not in line yet still

pending ratification? Can this be triggered by the mutual distrust characterizing the international system or for other reasons? Whose interests would a country be protecting as it sets forward to sign talk less of ratifying the ATT? Perhaps a look at the development of the ATT will help in the apprehension of the prompt or lukewarm attitude of some countries.
Mention must be made of the Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, for his supportive and intensifying efforts in 2009, prior to the December 18 2006 UK endeavour at seeking a legally-binding instrument for the international regulation of transactions involving arms in the UN. It was in line with the UN 61/89 Resolution to which the USA was greatly opposed. Through the establishment and meetings of a group of government experts from 28 UN member States, a final report was published in 2008. Then, President Arias craved the indulgence especially of the arm-manufacturing States as he introduced the treaty at the U.N in 2009. In his words, “…peace continues to be a step further away, nuclear and conventional weapons still exist despite the promises”. A conscience talk that yielded in doubled efforts finally culminating in the singing of the treaty in 2013 and its going effective in 2014. Paradoxical as it may appear, 9 years after Arias’ declaration and the ensuing efforts, his words still continue to describe the current situation of the world and it is left for each State to make an extra effort towards changing the situation for the better or keep dancing on the same spot.
Angeline Wulba


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