The U.S. Mission to the United Nations helped move a controversial arms trade treaty on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after President Obama won reelection.
The Obama administration was widely blamed by treaty advocates for derailing the effort back in July when it asked for more time amid growing opposition from Republicans and pro-gun-rights Democrats who are worried the treaty would affect the sale of civilian weapons in the United States. Fifty senators — including eight Democrats — signed on to a letter at the time signaling their opposition to the treaty.
The treaty sailed through the General Assembly’s disarmament committee on Wednesday, with the United States joining 156 other countries in voting to finalize the treaty in March. Russia was the only major arms exporter to vote against.
“This is an opportune moment for all countries to get behind this life-saving treaty to prevent needless suffering worldwide from the unregulated flow of illegal arms,” Amnesty International USA executive director Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.