Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Open Debate of the UN Security Council on Small Arms

Baki İlkin 17.02.2005
Mr. President,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council and express our appreciation for the convening of this important open debate on an issue that greatly affects us all.

I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his report, as well as Mr. Abe for his excellent introduction of it. The report indicates that important progress has been made in various fields of concern, though there is still much to do.

Turkey has already aligned itself with the statement made by Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union. I will therefore briefly expound a certain aspect of the issue of small arms.

Mr. President,

Today, we all recognize that excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons pose a significant threat to international peace and security as well as to the social development of many countries. The issue is not merely about arms control and disarmament. It has many aspects, including humanitarian issues, organized crime and terrorism. This threat weighs no less than that of weapons of mass destruction and requires concerted and resolute action by all UN members.

We took a significant step forward with the adoption of the UN Program of Action in 2001 which still stands as the only globally recognized framework. Yet, there is no international legal instrument for dealing with illicit trade of small arms and light weapons.

In this context, I would like to underscore the importance of the work of the Open-Ended Working Group which is currently negotiating an international instrument on marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons.

Turkey hopes that the instrument to be agreed will contain all of the elements needed to guarantee its effectiveness. This can be achieved if our efforts lead up to an instrument which has a legally binding and comprehensive nature, covering all kinds of such weapons, including their ammunition. We therefore call upon all UN members to take firm and resolute action to curb this global scourge.

Mr. President,

The illicit proliferation of small arms requires the development of long term strategies.

In this respect, we also acknowledge the role of the Security Council in making small arms a focus of global attention and action.

Turkey will continue to support all efforts and advocate enhanced international cooperation to combat and eradicate illicit trade in small and light weapons in the framework of the UN and in other fora.

Thank you.