Arms Trade Treaty signing welcomed by Ban Ki-moon

After 18 countries signed a new treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional arms on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greeted the step towards bring the treaty into enforcement.

The 18 countries, including the United States, helped to push the total number of signatories to more than half of all United Nations Member States.

"Today, a number of countries signed the Arms Trade Treaty, pushing the total number of signatures to more than half of all Member States," Ban's spokesperson said. "It is of particular significance that the largest arms exporting country in the world, the United States, is now also among those countries who have committed themselves to a global regulation of the arms trade."

The treaty, which will enter into force when it gains 50 ratifications, regulates all conventional arms, including battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons. The treaty also has numerous provisions regarding the trade of conventional arms, including a prohibition on the transfer of arms that might be used in genocide and other crimes against humanity.

"[Today's signings] will contribute to efforts to reduce insecurity and suffering for people on all continents," Ban's spokesperson said.