Trinidad steps up lobby for Arms Trade Treaty secretariat

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) -- Trinidad and Tobago stepped up its lobbying efforts to become the secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), staging a two-day conference that is discussing the financial rules and other measures.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran told the conference that the secretariat is the "missing link" in the armoury for dealing with the illicit movement of small arms and ammunition.


"I can say without fear and contradiction that the political will that is required for building this institution within the global architecture of peace and security has been enormous and your presence here is but another example and testimony to that political will," Dookeran told delegates at the meeting that ended yesterday.


"The Arms Trade Treaty deals with the question of the regulation of the illicit movement of small arms and ammunition, conventional arms, it is an area that has been missing in the architecture for dealing with the issue of peace and security," he said, adding that it is not the total solution but is indeed the missing link.


"We have come at a time when big and small nations alike must share in the burden and responsibilities of dealing with some of the global risks we are facing in today's century, one such risk is clearly in our quest to ensure there is peace and security," said Dookeran.


Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, during her first address to the United Nations General Assembly, said that Port of Spain was prepared to host the secretariat, and Dookeran said much progress had been made since the announcement.


He said the ATT is a reflection of the collective efforts of the UN system itself and the will of 86 countries to ensure the establishment of this institution for peace and security.


Dookeran said that the rules of procedure that will shape the ATT, the financial rules that would govern the entity and the Secretariat -- how it shall function and operate -- will be discussed here.


"We have come a long way but we cannot at any time feel a sense of complacency, for there is still much work to be done to engage the rest of the world who will have some concerns," said Dookeran, noting that also present at the conference were representatives of civil society, inter-governmental organisations and media.


"World diplomacy is no longer the requirement only of diplomats in foreign ministries, but must include the engagement of civil society and inter-governmental organisations in order to ensure that ability to implement its mandate is done," said Dookeran.


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