• Position : Project Director, Project on Asian Security; Project Director, Emerging Technologies and Global Security Project
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Affiliation : Senior Researcher, Center for International Security, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO
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Prospects for the International Arms Trade Treaty and Russia's position


p6328_1.jpgMOSCOW, FEBRUARY 28, 2011. PIR PRESS – “The International Arms Trade Treaty is a bold and progressive initiative. A lot of complex issues will have to be agreed over the next 18 months. Meanwhile, Russia's position on this matter is clearly evolving. Russian experts have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the proposed treaty” – Director of the PIRCenter Conventional Arms and ATT Project Vadim Kozyulin.

On February 10, 2011 PIRCenter hosted a seminar headlined “Prospects for the International Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and Russia's position” as part of its Midweek Brainstorming Session cycle of seminars. The key speakers were Nataliya Kalinina, lead researcher of the IMEMO RAN institute and member of the PIR Center Executive Board, and Vadim Kozyulin, Director of the PIR Center Conventional Arms and ATT Project.

The event was attended by representatives of the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries, the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, the Russian Technologies State Corporation, IMEMO RAN, the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies and other organizations.

The meeting was held in the run-up to the second sitting of the Preparatory Committee of the UN ATT Conference (ATT PrepCom) to be held in February 28 – March 4 inNew York. The participants discussed the current state of the international arms trade, the Russian position on the proposed ATT and the possible scenarios for negotiating the treaty.

“The international Arms Trade Treaty is a bold and progressive initiative,” Vadim Kozyulin said. “A lot of complex issues will have to be agreed over the next 18 months. Meanwhile, Russia's position on this matter is clearly evolving. Russian experts have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the proposed treaty.”

p6328_2.jpgHe said that significant differences exited between the UN members on such aspects of the ATT as the scope of the proposed treaty (introducing new controls over legal arms trade and countering arms trafficking), the register issue or the need to include the question of human rights in the text of the treaty. He spoke of the parts of the globe where the arms race is gaining momentum and a destabilizing build-up of weapons is taking place. That includes primarily the Asia Pacific region, where China is rapidly building up its armed strength, much to the concern of its neighbors, and the arms race between India and Pakistan. In the Middle East, the Arab states are arming themselves as a hedge against the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. A constant threat of regional conflict also remains in Africa.

Speaking about Russian arms exports, Nataliya Kalinina said that the Russian defense contractors were losing some of their traditional regional markets to new competitors. China is not only building its own armed strength but also becoming a leading arms exporter. “We are already losing India, we have no prospects with China. Among our other customers, trade has picked up with Vietnam, but that is not going to last. There are hopes that Russia will diversify its export markets by securing Algeria and Venezuela, but that is also very uncertain,” Kalinina said. Meanwhile, Russian weapons are becoming more expensive; prices are going up both for Russia's own armed forces and for customers in other countries.

Speaking about the position of the Russian delegation at the upcoming PrepCon, the participants said that Russia's point of view had not undergone any radical transformations, but that new ideas were being proposed as the ATT dialogue continued. The treaty must focus on countering illegal arms trafficking, which requires controls over weapons throughout p6328_3.jpgtheir entire life cycle, from R&D to disposal. The treaty must also enhance controls over international weapons transfers in the most vulnerable areas such as the verification of the end user, unlicensed weapons, and prevention of weapons transfers to non-government actors.

The seminar also hosted the presentation of the book “Russia's military and technical cooperation with foreign countries: fundamentals, problems and prospects”, written by several IMEMO RAN researchers and edited by Nataliya Kalinina. The book covers a wide range of arms trade issues. In addition, PIRCenter presented a special issue of the Security Index  journal focusing on the ongoing Russian military reform.

For more information about the Midweek Brainstorming Sessions, please contact PIRCenter at: Tel: +7 (945) 987-19-15, Fax: +7 (945) 987-19-14, E-mail: zulkharneev@pircenter