General Assembly: Statement by Ambassador Berger on the Arms Trade Treaty

Apr 2, 2013

(General Assembly: Statement as delivered by Ambassador Berger on the Arms Trade Treaty resolution)

"Mr. President,

Today, the Nations united here in this room acknowledged their responsibility and took action to regulate the international trade in arms. Today will enter the books of UN history as an important milestone. Facing the choice between saving lives and shying away from our common responsibility, the General Assembly with an impressive majority took the right decision, to adopt the text of the Arms Trade Treaty. We would have liked to celebrate this moment already after the final session of the final UN conference on the Arms Trade Treaty last Thursday, however as my British colleague put it at that time, it was success deferred.

Germany aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union and with the declaration delivered by Mexico on behalf of a large group of countries.

My delegation once again wishes to express its heartfelt thanks to the president of the ATT conference, Ambassador Woolcott, and his team for this tremendous effort and the firm, honest and inclusive stewardship over our proceedings. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to all those that had their respective substantial share in making the ATT process a success, notably colleagues that facilitated the process, the UN-staff and the representatives of civil society.

We have a good Treaty before us. A Treaty that includes a set of stringent prohibitions and assessment criteria, including on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, and provisions to prevent the risk of diversion. They send a powerful signal to the international community and will establish a strong international norm. With growing universality, it will give the unscrupulous no opportunity to pursue their illegal business.

We also welcome that the text we adopted today leaves room for future developments, both as regards arms technology as well as the implementation of its regulations.

We share other’s assessment that this treaty is a carefully crafted compromise between all negotiating parties across the spectrum. While normally compromises would leave everybody equally unhappy, we sense there is widespread satisfaction. We should be grateful for the opportunity this decision now offers. This Treaty will not only benefit our but also future generations. They will hold us accountable for its proper and faithful implementation.

We have come a very long way since we started our journey, coming from very different corners. Today, we jointly pass an important milestone, but this common journey must continue, if we want to bring to fruition all our joint efforts. Germany has been very actively involved in this process since its outset, and we will continue with even more vigour when it comes to bringing this Treaty to life; firstly by pushing for its early entry into force and universality of adherence. But more importantly to expedite the swiftest possible implementation of its most important provisions, even before the entry into force. We stand ready to assist those countries that request support in setting up or improving their respective transfer control systems. This is a priority. We must join efforts in this respect.

After years of negotiations in the United Nations and many years of prior preparatory work, brave diplomacy fortunately prevailed. Today is a good day for peace and security for all people around the world."

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