International guns trade

Regarding the editorial "Dealing With Somalia's Guns," Dec. 16: Accurately - although too late - the Monitor reports: "Without a doubt, the glut of assault riffles and other weaponry has played a major part in creating Somalia's problems. And many of those guns are of American or Soviet origin."

The same situation repeated itself in other places; international arms and ammunition transfers fueling, aggravating, and prolonging international conflicts.

International politics has played a role, but the worst part of it all has been the profit motive. Well over 90 percent of arms supplies have originated with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the very body to which the UN charter has entrusted the peace and security of the world.

Still today, despite the end of the cold war, the arms exporting countries refuse to accept the proposal of a comprehensive international treaty, a treaty regulating all arms transfers and, to a large extent, proscribing the arms business. But they look surprised and indignant at the situation in Somalia and elsewhere. Eduardo Marino, London

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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