Cluster bomb advocates skip Dublin

The US, Israel, China, Russia, India, and Pakistan, the top producers and stockpilers will skip a conference on banning cluster bombs.


In an effort to renew the drive for a global ban on cluster bombs more than 100 nations started meeting Friday in Dublin under the auspices of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), but not the world's top users and stockpilers of the weapon. The conferees are seeking an anti-cluster munitions treaty.

"It is regrettable that the US and a handful of other states continue to insist on their need to use a weapon that the rest of world is banning," said Steve Goose, director of the arms division at the New York-based Human Rights Watch.
"But we believe that a strong new treaty will stigmatize cluster munitions to such a degree that it will be difficult for any country to use them without international condemnation," he said on Friday.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Chang, a spokesman for the US mission to the UN said, "We are opposed to any ban on cluster munitions. We do not believe they are indiscriminate weapons."

US allies such as Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden are lobbying for the exclusion of some cluster bombs from the ban, diplomats said.

More than 13,000 have been confirmed injured and killed around the world by the cluster munitions, especially in Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, UNDP said.

Von: 17.5.2008,

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