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Vatican, sidelined at UN conference, backs arms-trade treaty

Catholic World News - July 27, 2012

The Vatican’s representative at the UN endorsed a new international treaty to control arms traffic, at a conference in which the Holy See’s envoy was not recognized as a full participant.

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt reminded UN members of the Vatican’s “abiding support for addressing illicit flows of arms.” He said that a new treaty would be helpful not only as a means of regulating open arms trades but more importantly, “disarming of the international illicit market.”

The archbishop called for a treaty that “addresses both the supply and the demand side of arms trade, through close cooperation between States, in responsible partnership with the arms industry and in committed solidarity with civil society.”

As he began his comments, however, Archbishop Chullikatt observed that the UN conference had experienced “a shaky start.” He was alluding to a tense debate over the seating of a Palestinian representative, which was fiercely opposed by Israel and the US. The Palestinian Liberation Organization has observer status at the UN, as does the Holy See. The dispute was eventually resolved when both Palestinian and Vatican delegates agreed to accept lesser status, making them able to participate in the discussions, but not as recognized members.

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