I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania* and the EFTA countries Iceland, Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Georgia align themselves with this statement.
As stakeholders and States Parties to the ATT, it is our common goal to establish the highest possible standards in the international trade in conventional arms, and to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and ammunition and prevent their diversion. At the same time, we need to step up our efforts and continue to work towards full universalisation of these norms. We reiterate our call on all UN Member States, especially the major arms importers, exporters and transit States, to sign, ratify, or accede to the ATT without further delay. The EU urges other States to increase their collective engagement and outreach efforts to non-State Parties, underlining the benefits of joining the ATT, thus contributing to international and regional peace and stability. We very much welcome the letter sent by the President of Sierra Leone, calling on States to accede to the ATT.
The EU considers it important to renew the momentum in order to achieve full universalization of this important treaty. Since the last CSP, the ATT has entered into force for Afghanistan, China, Niue, and São Tomé and Principe. We hope the accession by Afghanistan and China will inspire other countries in Asia to follow suit shortly. The EU and its Member States continue to play an active role in ATT universalisation efforts through the various EU Outreach Programmes and in bilateral dialogues on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. We call on all States Parties to advocate for the ratification of the ATT in their high-level bilateral contacts. It is essential that the Treaty receives the necessary attention, including at the political level, for universalization to become a reality.
It is not the ATT’s objective to hinder the legitimate arms trade or impose measures regulating the trade of arms on the domestic market. The ATT clearly recognises the legitimate rights and interests of States with regard to the arms trade and production, as well as the right to self-defence, enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. It is neither an exporters’ treaty, nor an importers’ treaty; the ATT is relevant to all participants in the international trade in conventional arms.
In this regard, we hope that the publication of the ATT Universalization Toolkit, adopted by all States Parties at the Fifth Conference of States Parties, will contribute to common understanding of Treaty objectives and will serve to strengthen universalisation outreach activities. We are pleased that we could fund the printing of the toolkit into brochure in all UN languages, so that we could join the excellent initiative of the Republic of Korea, who translated this Toolkit in several other languages.
Thank you, Mr. President.