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No decision on arms trade treaty

Delegates at a United Nations meeting on Saturday failed to agree on a landmark arms trade treaty.

"UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon speaking at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil. Picture: The United Nations.

JOHANNESBURG - Delegates at a United Nations (UN) meeting on Saturday failed to agree on a landmark arms trade treaty.

They delayed the decision, choosing to have further talks and a possible general assembly vote by the end of 2012.

This would be the world's first such agreement to regulate the industry, which generates more than $60 billion a year.

It has been a long month in New York for negotiators who have been deliberating over the draft word by word, but the agreement needs to be adopted by consensus from the more than 117 nations.

By the Friday's deadline no decision had been taken on a draft treaty, which only emerged earlier this week, after the United States it insisted needed more time to consider the text and Russia and China followed suit.

Some diplomats described it as a big step forward.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it is a setback. Activists described it as a staggering abdication of leadership and a show of cowardice.