Vatican's UN representative attacks arms trade
    The Holy See's permanent observer at the United Nations has called on governments to control the trade in small arms, thereby helping to contain armed conflict throughout the world.
    The Tablet reports that Archbishop Renato Martino told the UN general assembly in New York that the conflicts were "fed by arms dealers with a rapacious appetite for money". This was "a scandal of modern civilisation", he said.
    At the recent millennium summit in New York, Archbishop Martino recalled, world leaders had pledged themselves to "spare no effort to free our peoples from the scourge of war". It was easy to say these words, he said, but difficult to practise them. It was no accident that "the vast majority of states experiencing war are among the most poverty-stricken in the world", because resources needed for economic and social development were diverted to buying arms.
    To stop the trafficking in arms, Archbishop Martino said, what was needed was political will. "States must exercise their responsibility with regard to the export, import, transit and re-transfer of small arms and light weapons", he said. Similarly, political will was needed to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons. "A culture of peace is possible", Archbishop Martino declared.