Statement by Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier on provisional application of Arms Trade Treaty

Jan 22, 2014

Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Montreux today (22 January): 

The Arms Trade Treaty is an important milestone in the regulation of the global arms trade. Germany has decided to move forward and provisionally apply the Treaty. By doing so, we hope to persuade other states to follow suit, thus making the world a little bit safer.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is intended to enable us to tackle the completely uncontrolled proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which has contributed to the escalation of so many conflicts. The Treaty is the first to set global binding minimum standards for the international trade with conventional weapons: from pistols to tanks.

The Cabinet decided today to apply the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty on a provisional basis. Germany has been a keen advocate of the Treaty since the start of the negotiating process in 2006.

Germany was also one of the first countries to sign it. The corresponding German law approving the Treaty entered into force on 26 October 2013 after it was adopted unanimously in the Bundestag. Germany will deposit the instrument of ratification as soon as the EU decision upon which this is contingent has been taken. That is expected to happen in spring 2014. In this connection, the German Government will also issue a declaration on the provisional application of the ATT. Germany will thus provisionally apply the core passages of the Treaty – Articles 6 and 7 – which lay down the criteria for assessing arms export applications.

The UN General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty by a large majority on 2 April 2013. The Treaty will enter into force as soon as 50 countries have ratified it. To date, it has been signed by 116 states and ratified by nine countries. It covers large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft and missiles as well as small arms and light weapons. Among other things, it provides that prior to exporting any of these items supplier countries must assess whether the weapons could be used to seriously violate human rights or international humanitarian law.

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