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U.N. Hoping Cluster Bomb Ban Will Have 'Stigmatizing' Effect
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 05 - 12 - 2008

A new United Nations treaty banning the use of cluster bombs will help to stigmatize the use of the weapons, an official with the organization's Mine Action Service said Thursday.
“It will have a stigmatizing effect on countries who have refused to sign,” Simon Porter said.
Almost 100 countries have so far the treaty, but major arms producers such as the United States, Russia and China have said they will not be signing.
Afghanistan, a country heavily affected by cluster bombs, has signed the treaty as has Britain, a country that used cluster bombs in southern Iraq in 2003.
The treaty, which opened for signature yesterday in Oslo, bans the use, sale, transfer and manufacturing of cluster bombs.
“Too many people lost their lives and their limbs, too many futures were shattered,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at the opening of the signing convention.
Cluster bombs open in mid-air and scatter hundreds of smaller explosives, many of which fail to explode and can kill or maim long after a conflict has ended.
More than a quarter of the victims of cluster bombs are children who often mistake the brightly colored bomblets for toys, Porter said.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed the treaty saying it “indicates a significant and fundamental change in the position of many governments that, until recently, regarded cluster munitions as essential to their security policies and military doctrines.”
France and the Netherlands, two other countries who have used cluster bombs in the past, also signed the treaty.
The treaty will go into effect once 30 national parliaments in signatory countries ratify it.


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