09 Dec

Nations Sign Cluster Bomb Treaty

Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern adresses convention on banning cluster bombs, Oslo, 3 December 2008

At least 30 states have to ratify the treaty to bring it into effect

The first of more than 100 countries have begun signing a treaty to ban current designs of cluster bombs, at a conference in Oslo, Norway.

Campaigners are hailing the treaty as a major breakthrough.

But some of the biggest stockpilers, including the US, Russia and China, are not among the signatories.

First developed during World War II, cluster bombs contain a number of smaller bomblets designed to cover a large area and deter an advancing army.

But campaigners, including some in the military, have long argued they are outmoded and immoral because of the dangers posed to civilians from bombs that do not explode and litter the ground like landmines.

Although many of the world’s biggest stockpilers of cluster munitions will not be signing the treaty, its backers say the move will help stigmatise the weapons.


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