Source: Landmine Action - UK
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(London) - Less than a month after joining 45 other countries in a commitment to ban cluster munitions by 2008, the UK has announced it is banning the use of "dumb" cluster munitions with immediate effect. However the UK has said that it will retain the use of its Israeli manufactured M85 bomblets with self-destruct mechanisms, and is claiming that these are "smart" despite the fact that the same munitions failed in huge numbers in Lebanon in 2006.
"This new step adds the UK to the growing list of governments taking action to back up their commitment to a new treaty banning cluster bombs," said Thomas Nash Coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), the London-based global alliance of 200 NGOs campaigning against these weapons. "These weapons have been killing and injuring civilians for decades and every step like this one today from the UK brings us closer to ending that suffering forever."
In Oslo last month the UK joined allies Germany, France, Italy, Canada and others in committing to conclude an international treaty to "prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians." The new process to achieve this international treaty was spearheaded by Norway after the failure of arms talks at the Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva in November 2007. The next meeting on the road to a cluster bomb treaty will be held in Lima, Peru from 23-25 May 2007 where discussions are expected to begin on the shape of the new legal instrument.