For many, small arms pose greater threat than WMDs - Annan
Although weapons of mass destruction grab headlines, many people see handguns and other small arms as a far greater threat to their safety, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday.

"Dire potential scenarios involving nuclear, chemical and biological weapons have dominated recent disarmament discussions," he told the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. "But a much more direct threat to many people around the world is the day-to-day violence of conflict fought with small weapons.

Those weapons, said Annan, are "supplied -- sometimes legally, sometimes illegally -- by often unscrupulous and predatory arms merchants.

"We must do more to fight this menace, too," said the UN chief. "Such efforts might involve ensuring jobs and opportunities for disarmed ex-combatants in countries emerging from conflict. They might include clamping down on the illicit exploitation of natural resources."

The 21-member advisory board meets twice a year. Members are chosen by the secretary general for expertise in various arms fields.