Trump expected to withdraw U.S. from Arms Trade Treaty


U.S. President Donald Trump holds up an executive order with his signature as he announces that the United States will drop out of an international arms treaty during a speech at the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action’s (NRA-ILA) 148th annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday was expected to announce his intention to revoke the United States’ status as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty, which was signed in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama but never ratified by Congress, two U.S. officials said.

Trump was expected to announce the decision in a speech in Indianapolis, to the National Rifle Association, the officials said. The NRA, a powerful gun lobby group, has long been opposed to the treaty, which was negotiated at the United Nations.

The Arms Trade Treaty aims to regulate the $70 billion business in conventional arms and keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers.

The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the treaty in April 2013 and the United States, the world’s No. 1 arms exporter, voted in favor of it despite fierce opposition from the NRA.

The NRA is concerned the treaty would undermine domestic gun rights, a view the Obama administration strongly rejected.

Trump was joined on his trip to Indianapolis by White House national security adviser John Bolton, an advocate of withdrawing the United States from international treaties out of concern they might undermine U.S. authority.

Reporting By Steve Holland and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Bill Trott

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