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Treaty on banning cluster bombs formally adopted
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 30 - 05 - 2008


An international treaty banning cluster munitions
was formally adopted by 111 countries in Dublin on Friday, Irish
national broadcaster RTE reported, according to dpa.
The agreement, which entails a commitment to remove the weapons
from national arsenals within eight years, ended nearly two weeks of
diplomatic wrangling in the Irish capital.
The text of the treaty was agreed late Wednesday, with Britain
making a surprise pledge to scrap its arsenal of cluster bombs.
The countries will sign the treaty in Oslo in December.
In the agreement, signatories will pledge to not only to stop
using cluster bombs but also to stop selling, storing or producing
them.
The main producers of the weapons - the United States, Israel,
China, Russia, India and Pakistan - stayed away from the conference
and said they would not support the convention.
Under pressure from NATO countries, the text of the anti-cluster-
bomb convention contains a concession to the US and other countries
which want to continue to use and produce such munitions, by allowing
military cooperation between signatories and non-signatories.
Cluster bombs drop hundreds of tennis-ball-sized smaller
explosives known as "bomblets," which then scatter and detonate
across the battlefield.
Many bomblets fail to explode for years after a conflict, posing a
threat to civilians, especially children who often mistake the
munitions for toys.
The death toll ranges into the tens of thousands of civilians
killed, often blinded or maimed by the weapons.
According to UN estimates, they continue to present a lethal
threat in more than 30 countries.


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