U.N. vote sought on new arms treaty by Costa Rica and eight other nations

Costa Rica hopes to see a U.N. General Assembly vote on an international treaty to control firearms this Tuesday.

That was the outcome after three countries, Syria, North Korea and Iran, blocked unanimous approval of the treaty in a 12-nation conference Friday.

Costa Rica has been promoting the treaty for years.

“Over two weeks of hard negotiations we reached a text that was meaningful, that was implementable, a text that did not touch in any way upon the Constitutional rights of American citizens, a text that the United States could support,” said Thomas Countryman. “We look forward to this text being adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in the very near future.”  He is assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation. He spoke to reporters in a conference call after the meeting broke up Friday.

Some U.S. citizens have voiced suspicions about a U.N.-brokered arms treaty.

Under the treaty, nations are obliged to take more effective action against black market arms brokers and cooperate against the diversion of weapons, said Countryman. He said he did not think the treaty would hurt U.S. arms sales because his country already has tight controls. He declined to speculate why the three countries have not supported the treaty. Discussion on the treaty began March 18.

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