Photo By � POOL New / Reuters/Reuters
Secretary of State John Kerry voiced support on Friday for an international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade, but restated Washington's "red line," affirming that it would not accept limits on U.S. domestic gun ownership.
The U.N. General Assembly voted in December to hold a final round of negotiations from March 18 to 28 on what could become the first international treaty to regulate international weapons transfers after a drafting conference in July 2012 collapsed because the United States and others wanted more time.
Arms control campaigners say one person every minute dies worldwide as a result of armed violence and that a convention is needed to prevent the unregulated and illicit flow of weapons into conflict zones fueling wars and atrocities.
"The United States is steadfast in its commitment to achieve a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty that helps address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability," Kerry said in a statement.
"An effective treaty that recognizes that each nation must tailor and enforce its own national export and import control mechanisms can generate the participation of a broad majority of states, help stem the illicit flow of conventional arms across international borders and have important humanitarian benefits."
But he repeated that the United States - the world's No. 1 arms manufacturer - would not accept any treaty that imposed new limits on U.S. citizens' right to bear arms, a sensitive political issue in the United States.