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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia[*] and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
Reaching the milestone of 100 States Parties is a remarkable achievement taking into account that the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) entered into force only four years ago. On behalf of the European Union and its Member States, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, as well as your predecessors who all have contributed to this work.
We also wish to put on record our appreciation to other past and present Bureau members, parliamentarians, civil society, researchers and industry representatives whose efforts to promote universal adherence to the ATT have made this important instrument more visible and widely known.
We warmly welcome the recent accessions of Suriname, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique and look forward to the imminent joining of Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Yet, despite this progress, additional support and further work is much needed to allow the ATT to reach its full potential as the key international legally-binding instrument to regulate arms trade and prevent and eradicate illicit trade and diversion of conventional arms.
It is a concern that most major arms exporters and importers outside Europe have chosen to remain outside the ATT. We therefore reiterate our call on all UN Member States, in particular major arms exporters, importers and transit States, to sign, ratify or accede to the ATT without further delay. In the meantime, we urge States to improve their national arms export control systems and support international efforts to create a global level playing field for international arms trade, which would positively contribute to peace, security and stability, respect for human rights and sustainable development. We were encouraged by the widening support for the latest UN General Assembly resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty, with 151 States voting in favour, none against, and 30 abstaining.
We will continue to actively promote the ATT through diplomatic efforts and encourage all States Parties to do the same. Echoing our commitment to the ongoing EU Outreach Programme
., our implementing partners, the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) and Expertise France (EF), provide support to both non-State Parties as well as Signatory States to facilitate their accession to the ATT.
In Asia, we welcome our new partnership with Malaysia. The initial EU-sponsored assistance visit last November resulted in the drafting of an ambitious roadmap. Its implementation is expected to start in April 2019, with the focus on legal assistance, licensing and customs issues, including risk assessment and interagency cooperation.
Regional outreach seminars have proven to be a useful tool in promoting the ATT among countries who often face similar situations. Georgia held a reginal seminar in October 2018 with the participation of Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Philippines hosted its first regional seminar in December 2018, with the participation of four ASEAN Member States (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand). In the first few months of 2019, similar events will take place in the ECOWAS region, to be hosted by Burkina Faso and Ghana.
International assistance and cooperation continue to be necessary to mobilise broad support for the ATT and raise awareness of its objectives. The EU fully supports the idea to develop a welcome kit for this purpose. The EU will continue to share information about its activities with the Presidency, ATT Voluntary Trust Fund and other donors and expects others to do the same with a view to ensuring coordinated efforts. We would also welcome further engagement of industry representatives in events to promote the ATT.
Thank you, Mr. President
[*] The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process