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UN to Reopen Arms Treaty Debate


Handguns are on display at B & J Guns in Colonie, New York, June 26, 2008.

Handguns are on display at B & J Guns in Colonie, New York, June 26, 2008.

The U.N. General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to restart talks on a treaty regulating the global trade of conventional arms, after a similar effort failed in July.

The assembly has agreed to hold a conference in March to try to reach a consensus on a plan that would set global standards for the international transfer of conventional arms. In voting late Monday, the resolution was approved 133 to 0, with 17 countries abstaining.

Talks in July collapsed largely because of U.S. reluctance to move forward with plans to establish a treaty that would impose the regulations on a $60 billion industry.

During the talks, the National Rifle Association - a powerful U.S.-based gun-lobbying group - warned U.N. delegates that any treaty that included civilian ownership of firearms in its scope would be met with the "greatest force of opposition."

However, the politically charged issue of gun control re-emerged in the U.S. this month, after a mass shooting in Connecticut left 28 people dead, 20 of the victims young children.

In another development, the General Assembly voted to raise its two-year budget to about $5.4 billion, an increase of about $240 million from a year ago.

A significant portion of the additional funding will be used to help support U.N. special political missions in regions including the Middle East and Africa.
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