Statement by H.E. Mr. Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia at the signing ceremony of the Arms Trade Treaty
It is a profound honor to take the floor at the signing ceremony of the
Arms Trade Treaty.
Today, we have taken a commitment to be responsible arms exporters,
importers and transit countries.
This Treaty enables us to foster responsible arms trade, to contribute
to peace and security, to reinforce cooperation and confidence among states.
But this Treaty is not merely about arms and trade. It is about respect
for human life and dignity. Thousands of people are killed and injured in armed
conflicts around the world every day. We saw how strongly the governments of
the conflict affected states fought for this treaty, which would help them to
advance the rule of law at home.
We also witness regimes killing their own people, families escaping
their homes, and many people living in fear under threat of weapons. We now have
a Treaty that will help to prevent irresponsible and illegal arms transfers,
which destroy human lives. The Treaty will make a real difference to people.
This landmark agreement also proves that the United Nations is
successful in resolving complex challenges of our time. I hope that it will
give impetus to other global disarmament and non-proliferation forums to live
up to their expectations.
We can accomplish truly important things through cooperation. The role
of the civil society, non-governmental and regional organisations
in building up this Treaty has been remarkable and irreplaceable. Now, we need
to continue to work together to effectively enforce and implement this Treaty.
We also need to share the experience already available. Estonia,
together with other European Union countries and partners has and will continue
to share our practice with other states in establishing and maintaining
national control systems and control lists.
The Treaty provides for the possibility to review and update it taking
into account developments in the field of conventional arms. We hope that all
countries will join the Treaty and implement it with full severity. We hope
that the ATT standards will become universal. We firmly believe that signing
this treaty will save lives.
Let me finish by thanking all people who have made it possible to open
this Treaty for signature – Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations
Office for Disarmament Affairs, and the Secretariat for their guidance and
support, cosponsors and negotiators for their hard work and strong spirit,
Ambassador Peter Woolcott of Australia and Ambassador Roberto García Moritán of Argentina for their vision and
leadership during the negotiations, and the organizers of today’s special
Many important elements and principles have been incorporated into the Treaty,
now they need to be fulfilled. I wish us all determination and cooperative
spirit in achieving that.
We are looking forward for the Arms Trade Treaty to enter into force.