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46 of 49 nations OK ban on cluster bombs

Discussion in 'Pakistan Strategic Forces' started by Neo, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Neo

    Neo RETIRED

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    46 of 49 nations OK ban on cluster bombs
    By DOUG MELLGREN, Associated Press Writer

    OSLO, Norway - Forty-six nations adopted a declaration Friday calling for a 2008 treaty banning cluster bombs, saying the weapons kill and maim long after conflicts end and inflict "unacceptable harm" on civilians, particularly children.

    Some key arms makers — including the U.S., Russia, Israel and China — snubbed the conference of 49 nations. Of those attending, Poland, Romania and Japan did not approve the final text.

    But organizers said the declaration was needed despite the absence of key nations to avoid a potential humanitarian disaster posed by unexploded cluster munitions.

    Cluster bomblets are packed by the hundreds into artillery shells, bombs or missiles which scatter them over vast areas, with some failing to explode immediately. The unexploded bomblets can then lie dormant for years after conflicts end until they are disturbed, often by civilians.

    As many as 60 percent of the victims in Southeast Asia are children, the Cluster Munition Coalition campaign group said. The weapons have recently been used in Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon, it said. The U.N. estimated that Israel dropped as many as 4 million bomblets in southern Lebanon during last year's war with Hezbollah, with as many 40 percent failing to explode on impact.

    Mark Regev, spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry said: "During the recent conflict in Lebanon Israel used no munitions that were outlawed by international treaties or international law."

    Regev said if the declaration ever evolves into a treaty, then Israel would examine it and decide then how to respond.

    Children can be attracted to the unexploded bombs by their small size, shape and bright colors, activists say.

    While the document is not binding, organizers and activists hope it will pressure nations into halting the use of cluster bombs. Norway hopes the treaty would be similar to one outlawing anti-personnel mines, negotiated in Oslo in 1997.

    "If you need proof that you can conclude a treaty without the United States, Russia and China, look at the land mine treaty," said Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch. Despite rejecting that treaty, Goose said, the major powers have stopped deploying land mines and the number of civilian casualties has been cut in half since 1997.

    The declaration urged nations to "conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument" to ban cluster bombs. The treaty would "prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of those cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians," the declaration said.

    It urged countries take steps at a national level before the treaty takes effect. Norway has already done so, while Austria announced a moratorium on cluster bombs at the start of the conference.

    The U.S., China and Russia have refused to sign the land mine treaty and oppose the Norwegian initiative on cluster bombs. They did not send representatives to the meeting. Australia, Israel, India and Pakistan also did not attend. Those nations say the weapons should be dealt with in other arenas, such as the U.N. Convention on Conventional Weapons, known as CCW.

    The declaration said work on the cluster bomb treaty would be carried out in Lima, Peru, in May or June; in Vienna, Austria, in November or December, and in Dublin, Ireland, in early 2008.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070223/ap_on_re_eu/norway_cluster_bombs_7
     
  2. kidwaibhai

    kidwaibhai SENIOR MEMBER

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    pushes for such international legislation are useless no nation will sign to a treaty that will endanger its national security needs
     
  3. Neo

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    US rejects ban on cluster bombs AFP
    Friday February 23, 2007

    The United States on Friday rejected an international call to abandon the use of cluster bombs, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

    "We ... take the position that these munitions do have a place and a use in military inventories, given the right technology as well as the proper rules of engagement," McCormack said.

    Forty-six countries meeting in Oslo on Friday pledged to seek a treaty banning cluster bombs by next year, with major user and stockpiler Britain and manufacturer France signing on, Norway said.

    "We, ourselves, have already taken a couple of other steps with regard to technical upgrades to cluster munitions, as well as looking very closely at the rules of engagement, how they are used," said McCormack.

    "So it is something that over the course of the years we have looked at very closely. We have taken very seriously the international discussion with respect to the threat posed by unexploded ordnance to innocent civilians," he said.

    Japan, Poland and Romania refused to sign the accord, while key nations such as Israel and the United States did not take part in the conference.

    The 46 countries agreed to "commit themselves to ... conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument that will prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians," according to the declaration.

    A number of leading countries, including Britain and France, had previously said they wanted a ban to be part of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, a process which Norway and a number of other nations consider to be a failure.

    A cluster bomb is a container holding hundreds of smaller bomblets. It opens in mid-air and disperses the bomblets over a large area.

    The smaller bombs do not always explode on impact, which means they can continue to kill innocent civilians years later.

    A recent report by Handicap International claimed that 98 percent of casualties from cluster munitions are non-combatants.

    http://rawstory.com/news/afp/US_rejects_ban_on_cluster_bombs_02232007.html