Seventeen European Union countries and El Salvador have ratified a landmark treaty regulating the global arms trade.
The ambassadors of the 18 countries handed over the documents on April 2 at a UN ceremony on the first anniversary of the General Assembly's adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty.
The new ratifications bring the total number to 31, more than half of the 50 needed for the pact to enter into force.
Five of the world's leading arms exporters -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain -- turned in their ratification documents at the ceremony.
The others European countries to have ratified the treaty included Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
The treaty is the first agreement to outline global guidelines for the sales of weapons.
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa