Excellencies, dear friends,
From the very start, Iceland has been a firm supporter of the Arms Trade Treaty concluded in 2013. It is on the verge of taking effect now that the required number of countries has submitted their instruments of ratification.
Iceland was privileged to be the first country to ratify this important Treaty, which represents a milestone for international security. With wide acceptance and well planned implementation, the Treaty will reduce illicit arms flows to conflict regions, warlords, terrorists, pirates and other criminals.
The Treaty will help prevent violations of human rights and humanitarian law by use of arms against civilians, including gender-based violence. The Treaty will foster peace, security and development.
We should encourage all States to ratify this instrument as soon as possible. I hope that, eventually, this Treaty will be universal in its application and I look forward to working with all supporters of the Treaty to set up a sensible and cost-effective mechanism for its operation.
Already, we have made a good start with the Preparatory Meeting for the First Conference of State Parties in Mexico City earlier this month. I would like to thank the Government of Mexico for arranging these consultations and the Government of Germany for offering to host the Second Preparatory Meeting in November.
By the time we hold the First Conference of States Parties next year, I am confident that we can concentrate fully on the business at hand, which is to keep our countries safe and to protect global security, while reducing the risk of arms being used to commit serious crimes and other human rights violations.