An arms control activist places fake tombstones along the East river during the talks in New York. Photograph: Reuters
Foreign secretary says he hopes treaty is still a possibility after 170 countries fail to reach consensus in New York
The British foreign secretary, William Hague, has said he is disappointed by the failure of negotiations to secure a United Nations arms tradetreaty but hopes it remains a possibility.
More than 170 countries have spent the past month in New Yorknegotiating a treaty, which needed to be adopted by consensus, so any one country could in effect veto a deal. Instead, officials on Friday decided to take no decision on a draft treaty.
This leaves the door open for further talks and a draft arms trade treaty could be brought to the 193-nation United Nations general assembly and adopted with a two-thirds majority vote. Diplomats said there could be a vote by the end of the year.
One person every minute dies from armed violence around the world, and arms control activists say a convention is needed to prevent illicitly traded guns from pouring into conflict zones and fuelling wars and atrocities. They cite conflicts in Syria and elsewhere as examples of why a treaty is necessary.
While most states favoured a strong treaty, activists said there was a small minority of states, including Syria, North Korea, Iran, Egypt and Algeria, who opposed arms control throughout the negotiations.
But ultimately, arms-control activists blamed the United States and Russia for the inability to reach a decision on Friday, as both countries said there was not enough time left for them to clarify and resolve issues they had with the draft treaty.