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Annan Calls For Secure Small-Arms Stockpiles

Kofi Annan addressing the small-arms conference on June 26 (epa) UNITED NATIONS, June 27, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on governments to do more to secure their small-arms stockpiles and curb the illegal arms trade.

Annan spoke on June 26 at the start of a UN conference on the trade in small weapons. The conference is to review the progress made in the five years since the adoption of a program aimed at curbing the illegal sale of pistols, machine guns, and other light weapons.

Annan said countries have made some progress in curbing the arms trade, but have fallen short in updating their laws and collecting and destroying illegal weapons.

Ahead of the two-week conference in New York, a report issued by the Control Arms Campaign pressure group estimated there are currently up to 70 million Russian-designed AK-47 model assault rifles in circulation in 82 countries.

(with material from AP)