Kerry issues statement on opening of Arms Trade Treaty for signature

The U.S. welcomes the opening of the Arms Trade Treaty for signature and will sign it after the satisfactory completion of confirming the official translations, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

Kerry said that the treaty will help to prevent illegal trade of conventional weapons, consequently limiting violent extremists and human rights violators.

"The treaty is an important contribution to efforts to stem the illicit trade in conventional weapons, which fuels conflict, empowers violent extremists, and contributes to violations of human rights," Kerry said. "The treaty will require the parties to implement strict controls, of the kind the United States already has in place, on the international transfer of conventional arms to prevent their diversion and misuse and create greater international cooperation against black market arms merchants."

Kerry said the treaty would not restrict legitimate trade of conventional weapons.

"The ATT will not undermine the legitimate international trade in conventional weapons, interfere with national sovereignty, or infringe on the rights of American citizens, including our Second Amendment rights," Kerry said.

Kerry praised the leadership of Argentinian Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan and Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott for bringing the ATT to fruition after two U.N. negotiating conferences. He congratulated all the states that contributed to a treaty that will reduce the risk of conventional arms being used for the world's worst crimes.