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Amnesty International: Adopt arms treaty

March 12, 2013 at 12:49 PM

NEW YORK, March 12 (UPI) -- The five veto powers on the U.N. Security Council are responsible for more than half the world's arms trade, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

The group called for a treaty that would limit and regulate trafficking in military weapons. It said that Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, the five countries with permanent seats on the Security Council, will be critical to adopting and enforcing a treaty.

A U.N. conference to discuss a treaty is scheduled for March 28.

The United States is the largest single arms supplier in the world, the Amnesty International report said. It, along with the other four veto powers, are involved in more than half of the $100 billion in arms deals made every year.

Much of this weaponry goes to oppressive governments or fuels conflicts, the group said. Amnesty International said the United States is Yemen's largest supplier of military equipment, while state-owned factories in China have, in recent years, shipped arms to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Sudan.

"It's clear that the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are responsible for the lion's share of arms deals across borders -- and so collectively they must shoulder the greatest burden in bringing the poorly regulated global arms trade in check," said Helen Hughes, researcher on arms transfers at Amnesty International.

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