3 Apr 2013

UN passes arms treaty

6:42 am on 3 April 2013

The UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to adopt the first international treaty regulating trade in conventional weapons.

The treaty went to a vote after Syria, Iran and North Korea blocked its adoption by consensus and it was passed by 154 votes to three, with 23 abstentions.

Two of the world's biggest arms exporters, Russia and China, were among those who abstained, the BBC reports.

The conventional arms trade is estimated to be $US70 billion annually.

The treaty prohibits states from exporting conventional weapons in violation of arms embargoes, or weapons that would be used for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or terrorism.

It also requires states to prevent conventional weapons reaching the black market.