The United Nations has begun global arms trade treaty (ATT) talks in an effort to prevent illegal transfers of conventional weapons and reinforce international peace and security.

The meeting is the first of five preparatory conferences, to be held in New York from 12-23 July, gearing up towards a four-week UN conference in 2012 to draft the ATT.

Negotiations will continue until all 192 UN member states reach an agreement on concrete recommendations over the future arms trade for submission to the 2012 UN conference.

According to the UN Council, the ATT should be universal and should prevent conventional weapons from being used to threaten security, destabilise regions and states, violate international humanitarian law, undermine economic and diversion of weapons to the illicit market.