CCW talks on cluster munitions extended after hitting snag (Switzerland)

GENEVA -- A meeting of governmental experts negotiating cluster munitions regulations under a convention on conventional weapons has been extended until Nov. 12, after the meeting's chairman announced a breakdown in talks.


On Thursday, a day before the meeting was originally scheduled to end, chairman Bent Wigotski, Danish ambassador for arms control and disarmament, declared that there was no possibility of an agreement at that point in time.

In May, 107 countries participating in the Oslo Process on disarmament, including Japan, Britain, Germany and France, agreed in practice to an immediate total ban on cluster munitions. In response, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), tried to produce a separate proposal
for regulation. The CCW has 108 state parties including the United States, China and Russia, which did not take part in the Oslo Process.

Wigotski had submitted a proposal as chairman, aiming for agreement from each country. However, it permitted wide exceptions to bans, and gave countries up to 20 years in some cases to phase out cluster munitions, factoring in the point of view of countries including the United States. With Norway and Costa Rica strongly opposed to the proposal, its approval under the CCW, which generally adopts a policy of unanimous agreement, remained uncertain.

The current CCW negotiations, which began in January, were due to be approved by governmental experts and adopted by signatory countries in a conference starting on Nov. 13. At the conference, officials will discuss whether to extend negotiations until next year. However, a treaty on the ban of cluster munitions has already been adopted under the Oslo Process, and one U.N.-related official called the latest negotiations a waste of time and money.

(Mainichi Japan) November 8, 2008

Von: 08.11.2008,

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