Delegates to the recently-held regional Abuja Roundtable on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations have reiterated support for the ECOWAS Common Position (ECP) on the Treaty, especially the provision to curb indiscriminate circulation of arms and associated armed violence, and the abuse that threaten peace in the society.
The 21-22 February 2013 Roundtable at the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, was called to ensure that member states and Civil Society Organisations in the region identified language in the draft ATT text that could be preserved or improved upon in order to advance the ECP, ahead of the March 2013 negotiations in New York, to facilitate an ATT agreement.
Another key objective of the meeting is to help raise public awareness among ECOWAS member states and citizens about the process, towards arriving at a mutually agreeable treaty.
PANA reports that In 2010, ECOWAS Defence and Security Ministers adopted the ECP which, among key points, frowned against irresponsible transfer of arms and seeks the inclusion of ammunition in the scope of the Treaty.
Also, the ECP insists that the transfer of conventional arms to entities out of state control should be subject to prohibition in any future treaty, and also canvassed the recognition of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the definition of their roles in the implementation of the ATT.
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, has said some “elements critical for the ECOWAS region” were absent from the draft report of the ATT currently in circulation.
Mrs Suleiman told delegates at the meeting that these critical elements include the “absence of reference to Non-State actors and their role in the illicit circulation and misuse of conventional arms,” as well as the need to ensure that the ATT recognises the role of RECs such as ECOWAS and the incorporation of ammunition in the scope of the ATT.