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London urges Russia, China to sign U.N. arms treaty

Sept. 25, 2013 at 1:11 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague called on Russia and China to follow the U.S. example set Wednesday by signing an international arms trade treaty.

The U.S. State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting Wednesday.

"The treaty can help improve both U.S. national security and global security by reducing the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world's worst crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes," the State Department said in a statement.

Kerry expressed support for the treaty when it was introduced in April. More than 60 countries formally signed it though the White House said it was holding back because of issues with translating the document.

"We believe this brings us closer to the possibilities of peace as well as a security, a higher level of a security, and the promotion and protection of human rights," he said in a statement Wednesday. "That, frankly, is a trifecta for America, and that's why we're proud to sign this treaty today."

Hague took to his official Twitter account Wednesday to call for additional support for the treaty.

"Russia and China, it is your turn," he said.

"All Americans should celebrate that the United States has pledged to do its part to end the unscrupulous trade in deadly weapons used by dictators, war lords and criminal gangs to commit atrocities," said Frank Jannuzi, deputy director for Amnesty International in the United States.

AI said weapons proliferation leads to the deaths of more than 1,500 people every day.

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