Thank you Mr Chairman!
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union
First of all allow me to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election. We are confident that under your able leadership the Open-ended Working Group towards an arms trade treaty will meet the high expectations of the Member States.
I take this opportunity to reiterate the firm support of all European Union countries to the elaboration of a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms. The European Union is convinced that the United Nations is the only appropriate forum to deliver a truly universal instrument.
We are convinced that the establishment of the binding standards, consistent with existing responsibilities of states under relevant international law, would be a major contribution to tackling the undesirable and irresponsible proliferation of conventional weapons which undermines peace, security, development and full respect for human rights.
We welcome the creation of the Open Ended Working Group. The EU and its individual Member States are committed to playing an active role in its work and to contribute to the achievement of the tangible results.
Bearing in mind the importance of the cooperation with other States and regional organisations in this matter, the Council of the European Union approved on 19 January 2009 a project aimed at support of the process leading towards an Arms Trade Treaty inter alia by increasing awareness of all UN Member States and regional organisations in this process. The project consists of six regional seminars organized in cooperation with UNIDIR. The launching event of the project will be held in Geneva just before the first session of the Open-ended Working Group on ATT.
In conclusion we wish you, Mr. Chairman, all success in your endeavours and please be reassured of the full support of the European Union countries.
I thank you.