Finland is one of the countries behind the initiative for a binding multilateral treaty to regulate arms trade, alongside Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya and the UK. Tuomioja spoke on Finland’s behalf at the UN conference at the beginning of July, and says he has closely followed the negotiations since.
“Today is a take-it-or-leave-it, double-or-nothing day. There have been indications that a rather watered down agreement would be on the table. Then it would be better to have no deal at all. It’s better than a treaty which gives an impression that the matter is regulated by some legislation, when in fact it wouldn’t be,” Tuomioja said on Friday morning in an interview with Yle’s Aamu-Tv programme.
The latest proposal looks better than that, according to Tuomioja, but there’s still room for improvement.
Tuomioja points out that, above all, the treaty would be primarily a preventive tool. It would have little impact on acute crises like the current situation in Syria, says the minister. Small arms, handheld weapons would be regulated particularly. Here, criminal gangs are a major concern, according to Tuomioja.
“This is a big problem in Central America and Africa, where small arms kill more people than anywhere else in the world. This treaty would not directly impact inter-state conflicts,” Tuomioja told Yle.
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