US President Donald Trump has declared that the country will withdraw its status as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Signed by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, the treaty was enforced in December 2014 and aims to regulate the sale of weapons between countries. It has a total of 101 states-parties and 135 signatory states.
Trump further added that he would ask the US Senate not to ratify the pact.
The move was criticised by key security experts and former officials as misguided, counterproductive, and dangerous.
Arms Trade Treaty lead US negotiator Thomas Countryman said: “The president’s action today is yet another mistaken step that threatens to make the world less safe, rather than more secure.
“The ATT, if ratified by the US Senate, would not require the US to change anything in its law or procedures. It is sad, but to be expected, that this president opposes efforts to require other countries to meet the high standards of US military export decisions.”
The ATT establishes common international standards that must be met before transfers of conventional weapons or export ammunition and weapons parts are authorised by states.
It aims to reduce the illicit arms trade and reduce human suffering caused by illegal and irresponsible arms transfers. It will promote accountability and transparency by state-parties concerning transfers of conventional arms.
The White House said in a statement: “President has repeatedly acted to protect and preserve our sovereignty, including by taking strong action to head off possible investigation of US military and intelligence personnel by the International Criminal Court.”