Arms Trade Treaty: Statement by Ambassador Ranau

Feb 14, 2012

(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Ranau, Head of the German Delegation, at the last session of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty)

Mr Chairman,

at the outset let me express how happy my delegation is to see you once again presiding over this last session of this Preparatory Committee. We continue to have full confidence and appreciation for your able stewardship of the ATT process. We pledge our full support to our common endeavours during this crucial week.
We would be most happy to see you continue leading this negotiating process until its completion at the end of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. We are looking forward to continuing the good cooperation with you as the Chair.
On behalf of my delegation I would like to align myself to yesterday's EU-statement. I would like to underline that in view of my country Non-Governmental Organisations play an important role in bringing forward this process of universalisation and regulation of arms' trade. This is why we support the active participation of NGO's representatives in this Conference. We also advocate expanding the possibility of NGO's to address the ATT Conference at a number of meetings.
What are we working for here at the UN-headquarters in New York? Better regulation of world wide arms' trade. Let me say that the statement of the honourable delegate of Sierra Leone of this morning impressed me: she described how illicit arms trade had contributed to destruction and death in her country. And she also underlined that her country would benefit a lot from the application of an ATT. Or as one of the NGO's represented at this Conference has put it on small bumper stickers distributed this morning: “Time for a bullet proof treaty”. I think we will not achieve everything we wish for, but we should try for the best outcome. Germany's overarching aim remains the successful negotiation of a strong and robust Arms Trade Treaty that enjoys the broadest possible support of the international community and that can also be signed and ratified by as many States as possible. In our view these are the two most important objectives to keep in mind when considering the rules of procedure for the Conference.
With UNGA resolution 64/48 the General Assembly in operative paragraph 5 decided that the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty "will be undertaken in an open and transparent manner, on the basis of consensus, to achieve a strong and robust treaty". In our view – and given the two objectives strong and robust treaty and wide adherence stated above - all delegations represented at the UN Conference should work with all their powers to reach a result of the negotiations that all participants can adopt by consensus. By the same token we think that op 5 of UNGA resolution 64/48 does not imply that any decision at the Conference necessarily has to be taken by consensus, and we still think that a consensus requirement, even if it were only to apply to the final decision on the adoption of a treaty text for the future Arms Trade Treaty as rule 33 in your draft for the Rules of Procedure of the Conference, is only a second best solution if we are to achieve a strong and robust treaty.
In our view UN-Member States that advocate consensus on all decisions and single paragraphs of the treaty must be aware that progress of the States' Conference in July would be put at risk. We would end up at lowest denominator results. For Germany it would hardly make any sense to sign a treaty which has been negotiated down to meaningless substance. We underline that there must be a spirit of compromise if we are to find a common denominator for the Rules of Procedure to be accepted by the greatest number of UN Member States possible.

Mr Chairman, 

in general Germany supports the Rules of Procedure as distributed last week. Your approach on consensus as laid down in rules 33 and 35 is a good basis for further deliberations. We think that flexibility of all UN-member states will be necessary to come to rules of decision-making which are acceptable to all delegations.

Mr Chairman,

let me conclude by wishing you and us all another successful week of consultations and by reassuring you of the full engagement of my delegation for your efforts to achieve a good result that will open the perspective for an UN conference on the ATT that can achieve a strong an robust treaty with the widest possible participation.

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