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International relief and development organization Oxfam America expressed confidence today that the United States will sign the Arms Trade Treaty by the end of the year. The treaty, which was approved by the UN General Assembly in April, will regulate for the first time in history the shipment of weapons that can be used to commit the horrors of genocide, war crimes and attacks on civilians.
While the United States was not among the first 60 countries to sign the treaty, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that he welcomed the opening of the treaty for signature and looked forward to signing once the official translations of the text are completed satisfactorily.
In response, Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, issued the following statement.
"This is a historic moment. For the first time in history, there is an arms trade treaty to regulate the global arms trade.
“The bloodshed caused by armed violence in countries like Syria and South Sudan has gone on too long. While we are disappointed that the United States is not among the first signatories, we are confident the US will sign the treaty as expeditiously as possible.
“The United States played a key role during the negotiations and deserves a lot of credit for its leadership on crafting a treaty that will help save millions of lives in the future. We know President Obama understands the importance of a swift US signature.
"As a humanitarian organization, we’ve seen firsthand the impact of the global arms trade on innocent men, women and children in places like Syria and South Sudan. The time is now for the United States to sign this treaty as swiftly as possible to stop dangerous weapons from reaching violent extremists and human rights abusers. There is no time left to wait.”