Office of the Spokesman
July 5, 2007
United States Commemorates Small Arms Destruction Day with "Millionth Weapon Destruction" Events
U.S. assistance programs have destroyed more than one million weapons worldwide. To celebrate the event, the United States and six other countries will observe Small Arms Destruction Day on July 9 by helping countries on four continents destroy a symbolic “millionth weapon.” These events demonstrate the United States’ ongoing commitment to assisting countries recovering from conflict and to taking practical steps to implement the “UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.”
The U.S. Department of State’s “Millionth Weapon Destruction” events will feature the simultaneous crushing or cutting at 12:00 noon GMT of a small arm or light weapon in countries representing regions where we have active weapons destruction programs: Europe (Albania), Africa (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo), Asia (Afghanistan), and Latin America (Honduras). A similar event will take place in Ukraine on July 11.
The United States is a global leader in efforts mitigating the illicit trafficking and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons, such as assault rifles, grenade launchers, and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).
One of our signature programs is assisting countries to safely destroy their excess and obsolete weapons that might be subject to theft, loss, or pilferage and run the risk of falling into the hands of terrorists or insurgents. Since 2001 we have provided more than $58 million to more than 25 countries to destroy more than one million small arms and light weapons, more than 90 million pieces of ammunition, and more than 21,000 MANPADS.
Additionally, the U.S. has a transparent and robust arms export control regime featuring controls on defense articles and services as well as registration and licensing of manufacturers, exporters, and brokers.
To learn more about ongoing United States small arms and light weapons destruction efforts, visit the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement website at www.state.gov/t/pm/wra and consult the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Fact Sheet, “Actions by the United States to Stem the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons,” at www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/67700.htm.
Released on July 5, 2007