28 May 2008

Brown Commits To Banning All Cluster Bombs

Download Press Release (PDF)(Dublin, Ireland, May 28st, 2008) After ten days of intense negotiations campaigners welcome the UK's commitments to banning all cluster bombs immediately. A major sticking point throughout the Oslo process had been the UK's insistence on retaining two types of cluster bombs known to cause problems.Simon Conway, Co-chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition and Director of Landmine action said: "The Treaty is not yet in the bag, but the Prime Minister's commitment to remove all remaining UK cluster bombs and work towards the strongest possible Treaty, will do much to help in these last critical hours of negotiations".Up until now the British position has been dominated by their insistence to keep two types of cluster bombs M85 and M73. M85s were used by the British in Iraq in 2003. The M73 has never been deployed by the British, but has been used by the Americans in Iraq. It does not have a self-destruct or deactivation mechanism.Anna Macdonald, Head of Arms Control for Oxfam said: "The UK is now showing strong humanitarian leadership on this vital treaty which will protect civilians around the world from these indiscriminate and hideous weapons. Australia and Canada now need to follow the UKs lead and show equal humanitarian commitment."The final hours of the negotiations are dominated by discussions around joint military operations with countries, such as the US, which will not sign up to the treaty. At present Australia and Canada are insisting on language in the treaty which campaigners believe will allow them to assist the US in the use of cluster munitions.