RevCon Outcome Uncertain
5 July 2006
With just two days remaining to achieve agreement on an Outcome Document for the Review Conference, the prospects for a good agreement are looking very dim. Having spent five and half days listening to national statements and statements by international organizations and NGOs, real work only began on the afternoon of day 6, only to be interrupted by the US July 4th holiday yesterday.
The President issued a new “non-paper” on Monday, the 3d. Those who wanted much more out of this Conference are very unhappy. Those who wanted less are still seeking to weaken the document further. IANSA prepared a reply which was distributed today to delegations listing IANSA’s major concerns with the document on the core areas of arms transfers, development, survivor assistance, national legislation and the follow-up processes to this meeting.
A new strategy has been adopted today for receiving the views of States on the “non-paper”. It appears that work will go into the evening this evening and possibly tomorrow meeting. It remains to be seen whether a final Document will be achievable in the time remaining, or whether what is finally produced will actually add any real value.
There is great disappointment among many here at this turn of events. It was clear before the meeting that there would be major disagreements between those who wished the outcome document to be a very restricted one, focusing mainly on existing commitments under the Programme of Action (PoA), and those who wished this meeting to take clear steps towards strengthening the PoA. One of the major problems being experienced is that many governments have sent their NY representatives to this meeting. Many of these know very little about the small arms issue.
The QUNO “team”, with the exception of David Atwood, left last weekend. David continues to be active as a member of the IANSA UN Working Group, helping to provide structure to the multi-faceted initiatives of the many NGOs here in NY for this meeting. Scott Stedjan from the Friends Committee on National Legislation is playing an active role here, particularly as a liaison person with the US delegation. Our Friends Susan Waltz, human rights scholar and activist within Amnesty International, is also here working on the “Control Arms” initiative of Oxfam, Amnesty International, and IANSA is also here working on the arms transfers issues.
We remain hopeful for better news from the negotiating hall as the hours dwindle down. There is furious lobbying going on. The next dispatch will offer comments on the final results and a more general view on the process.
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