WASHINGTON

Treaty to curb arms trading runs into some resistance

Negotiators at the United Nations worked to complete a treaty to regulate the global arms trade by a Friday night deadline but faced resistance from some nations, including Iran, Syria and North Korea, and a request for more time from the United States.

The treaty aims to halt the cross-border flow of weapons and ammunition that has fueled violent conflicts around the world.

But some countries made clear their unhappiness with the restrictions in the treaty, which requires approval from all 193 U.N. members. And the Obama administration said it needed to study the text, which has gone through a series of revisions in a four-week process.

Complicating the politics of the negotiation, 51 U.S. senators have joined gun rights advocates in opposing the treaty, which they fear would infringe Second Amendment rights to bear arms.

The senators, in letters to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, expressed “grave concern” that the treaty could affect Americans’ ability to buy arms. Arms-control advocates say the worry is groundless.

Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA and a former administration official, said the delay was “unconscionable.”

“The message from the Obama administration on the arms trade treaty seems to be: ‘We’ll get back to you on this.’ “

The treaty would bar signatory nations from transferring conventional weapons that violate arms embargoes and seek to keep them from governments that carry out genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity.

It seeks to set common rules for arms transfers, hoping to improve accountability and transparency of a $60 billion business that usually proceeds out of sight.

ISLAMABAD

Pakistani invitation to India seen as further improvement

Pakistan’s president has invited India’s prime minister to visit, the latest sign of thawing relations between the historical arch enemies.

The Pakistani government says President Asif Ali Zardari extended the invitation Friday in a letter sent to Prime Minister Manhoman Singh.

Zardari met with Singh in April during a brief pilgrimage to a Muslim shrine in neighboring India.

Both countries were carved out of British India and won independence in 1947. They have fought three major wars since then, two over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Relations have improved somewhat over the last year, especially with respect to trade. But they still harbor major disagreements and view each other with suspicion.

LIMA, Peru

Tracks at base camp might be sign of missing climbers

A search team has reached the base camp and spotted the apparent tracks of two U.S. mountaineers who have not been heard from since July 11 when they set off to climb a 20,000-foot glacier-capped peak in the Cordillera Blanca range of northern Peru. Gil Weiss, 29, and Ben Horne, 32, both experienced climbers, were attempting the west summit of Palcaraju from the south. 

— From news service reports

 


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