World News

Iran, Syria, NKorea Block Global Arms Treaty

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Iran, Syria and North Korea have blocked the adoption of a U.N. treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade.

Unanimous support was required to adopt the treaty during Thursday's negotiations at the U.N. headquarters. But a coalition of countries said they would soon take the bill to the U.N. General Assembly, where its passage is expected.

The treaty would set international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons. It would also strengthen measures to ensure arms are not used in human rights abuses or terrorism.

Iran, Syria and North Korea viewed the draft text as imbalanced, politically motivated and insufficient for the needs of their countries.

The United States, the world's biggest arms exporter, has previously opposed certain parts of the treaty. But on Tuesday U.S. diplomats said the bill was fair and that Washington looks forward to its quick adoption.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office also said it was confident the treaty would soon pass. Diplomats say a vote could take place in the General Assembly as soon as Tuesday.

Activists and some governments have been pushing for the global arms treaty for over a decade, hoping it will help keep illicit weapons out of the hands of terrorists, insurgents and organized crime groups.

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