Diplomats from 170 countries negotiating a new international treaty to regulate the multi-billion-dollar arms trade accepted defeat on Friday. But member nations of the United Nations attending the conference agreed to keep talks alive.
Hopes that an agreement could be reached on a modified draft of the agreement, which removed some loopholes in the previous draft, died after the Friday deadline ended.
While most UN member states favored a strong treaty - 90 countries, including all European Union members, and states from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, signed the text - a small minority of states, including Syria, North Korea, Iran, Egypt and Algeria, opposed a global arms control throughout the negotiations.
United States was also at the receiving end after negotiations closed on Friday, with some diplomats blaming it for triggering the unravelling of the month-long conference.
US diplomats sought more time to consider the proposed treaty. as did Russia and China, the other two major arms exporters.
''This was stunning cowardice by the Obama administration, which at the last minute did an about-face and scuttled progress toward a global arms treaty, just as it reached the finish line,'' said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International.