Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Indonesia Refuses to Sign Arms Trade Treaty

Two F-22 Raptor stealth jets ready for take-off at the US military base in Osan, South Korea, in a joint military exercise between the two allies (4/3). (AP/Bae Jung-hyun, Yonhap)

Jakarta, (IMP) -- Indonesia will not sign the global arms trade treaty approved by the United Nations General Assembly that was open for countries to sign yesterday.

"Indonesia is unable to sign yet because the treaty contains a notion of conditionality that is against our law," Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Michael Tene told Tempo yesterday.

Initially, Indonesia fully supported the treaty when it was proposed and was even one of the imitators of the treaty at the UN General Assembly. However, as further developments were made, the final treaty that was agreed upon last April included conditions that conflicted with Law No.16/2012 article 43 on the defense industry that regulates the procurement and maintenance of defense and security equipment.

During the vote for the Arms Trade Treaty held last April, 154 countries declared their support. Indonesia, along with 22 other countries, chose to abstain, while 3 countries rejected the treaty and 12 nations were absent. However, Tene revealed that Indonesia finally decided not to sign the final treaty.

"We support this treaty in general. However, Indonesia cannot sign the treaty in its current form because it is not in line (with Indonesia’s laws)," said Tene.

The treaty is the first international treaty that regulates global conventional arms trade, aimed at globally controlling arms trade and ammunitions such as combat aircrafts, war helicopters, warships, and small arms and light weapons.

A number of major arms exporters in the world will sign this treaty including the United Kingdom, Germany and France. The United States is expected to sign the treaty at the end of 2013.

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