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Regional conference fosters new initiative for small arms control

By United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
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KHARTOUM, Sudan, May 24, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Regional Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control concluded today in Khartoum with the agreement of Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Libya to improve their cooperation through the creation of a regional mechanism that will aim to control, manage and safeguard against the proliferation of small arms and illegal trafficking of weapons.

With the support of the Embassy of Germany, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the five neighbouring countries came together for the first time committing to promote a bold set of joint initiatives in border security, training programmes, information sharing, institution building and the development of new interregional bodies for arms control, conflict reduction and economic development.

The final declaration signed by the Ministers of Interior and Security of the participant countries also called for the continued support of the UN system and international community in this initiative.

In the keynote address, the Sudanese Second Vice President, Dr. Alhaj Adam Yousif, said that there can be no sustainable development as long as citizens persist in carrying illegal small arms. He went on to highlight the importance of the native administration and the rule of law in providing security for its people. “We want to put into practice what we've said here today: a real, effective and active mechanism from which all nations here can collect its fruit,” he added.

The two-day conference, organized by the Sudan Ministry of Interior and Sudan Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (SDDRC), was attended by the Ministers of Interior and Security of the participant countries accompanied by officials from the diplomatic community, international organizations on SALW control, national officials, security and law enforcement agencies, and academics.