At ATT Preparatory Meetings, Delegates Applaud Sierra Leone's Leadership
Geneva, Switzerland, Monday 3 May 2021- After a week of intensive briefings and consultations in Geneva, held virtually, preparations for the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) ended on Friday presidency “strengthening efforts to eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and ensure efficient stockpile management. ”
During the week-long meetings with delegates from over 200 countries Sierra Leone's Ambassador to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, Ambassador Lansana Gberie, who chaired the proceedings, briefed delegates on his efforts at universalising the treaty. “Sierra Leone takes seriously its obligation to build on the efforts of past ATT Presidents ... to universalize the treaty,” Ambassador Gberie said. “Since coming into office, the Presidency has undertaken a number of activities related to Treaty universalization. Sierra Leone facilitated the preparation and processing of the 2020 ATT Resolution at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, which was supported by 150 states. ”
He added: “This year due to COVID-19 measures prohibiting in-person meetings and the current health and travel restrictions adopted by most States, I had to find creative ways to advance the Treaty's universalization. After consultation with my President, His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, we decided to write a letter to the Heads of States whose countries are not yet States Parties, encouraging them to join this important legal instrument in the field of arms control. In writing this letter, President Bio highlighted the universally shared goals of 'preventing weapons from being illicitly traded and reducing the human cost of armed conflicts,' which the ATT seeks to contribute to, ”Ambassador Gberie said.
"To organize the work on universalization," Ambassador Gberie continued, "I adopted a strategy of dividing the non-States Parties into two groups. The first group includes States considered to be close to joining the TreTreaty-based advancements made at the national level, and the second group consisting of States whose prospect of joining the treaty is less certain in the short term. ”
“To date,” he reported, “I have personally hand-delivered my President's letter to 24 non-States Parties, including 13 States from Africa, 7 States from Asia, 1 State from Europe, 1 State from the Americas, and 2 States from Oceania. I met some of the representatives in their Missions, and some at their residences. A further 29 letters have been directly sent to their corresponding Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices. ”
The ATT President received a wide commendation for his efforts.
Ambassador Gberie assured delegates that the ATT Secretariat under his Presidency will carefully consider all their submissions and contributions and to the extent possible take them on board.
The main conference of the ATT, the CSP7, takes place at the end of August and early September this year.
The ATT is the key instrument for regulating the global arms trade, covering the production, movement, and stockpiling of weapons, as well as human rights issues that are salient in armed conflict.
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