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Turkey signs Arms Trade Treaty

July 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, July 3 (UPI) -- The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it expected its international counterparts to sign onto the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty.

The U.N. General Assembly approved the international treaty on the global arms trade in April. The measure, which followed several years of diplomatic maneuvering, is aimed at preventing the spread of weapons.

The Turkish Foreign Minister said in a statement Wednesday its signature was added to the treaty by Turkish Ambassador to the United Nations Halit Cevik.

"For a speedy entry into force and eventual universalization, we expect all states to sign the treaty and complete their national ratification procedures as soon as possible," the ministry said in a statement.

More than 60 countries formally signed the treaty. It bans governments from transferring conventional weapons to other countries known to be engaged in war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The United States wasn't among those signing the treaty. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the government would likely join the measure later this year. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his support for the measure though the White House said there were minor issues stemming from the treaty's translation.

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