14 October 2009

Malawi and Macedonia (FYR) become 22nd and 23rd countries to ratify cluster bomb ban

Cluster bomb ban closing in on entry into forceMalawi and Macedonia (FYR) deposited their instruments of ratification on 7 and 8 October respectively, becoming the 22nd and 23rd countries to ratify the cluster bomb ban. The global campaign against cluster bombs has received a major boost in New York over the past four weeks where a spate of activity has brought the Convention on Cluster Munitions up to 100 signatures, including 23 ratifications.On 21 October the United Nations will host a Special Event on the Convention on Cluster Munitions with the aim of furthering the number of ratifications and signatures to the Convention and encouraging States to give updates on progress to sign and ratify in the near future. The Convention requires just 7 more ratifications to reach the threshold of 30 ratifications needed to trigger entry into force.At the annual United Nations Treaty Event that took place at the end of September during the UN high-level opening of the General Assembly, the Convention on Cluster Munitions received the third highest number of treaty actions of the 39 treaties that were showcased at the event. The Foreign Ministers of both Cyprus and St. Vincent and the Grenadines signed the Convention and Uruguay, Malta, France and Burundi deposited their instruments of ratification.At the high-level opening of the UN General Assembly, Ministers and Heads of State from Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, San Marino and Spain spoke in support of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, urging others to join it: H.E Mr Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minster and Foreign Minister of Lao PDR, the most heavily affected country urged countries to sign and ratify the Convention and reiterated that "In order to prepare for the future implementation of this Convention, the Lao Government has offered to host the First Conference of State Parties to the Oslo Convention after it enters into force." Austria's Minister for European and International Affairs, H.E. Mr. Michael Spindelegger, welcomed "the growing support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Austria ratified the Convention in April this year. We appeal to all states to sign and ratify as soon as possible."Within the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, which covers disarmament and international security and meets throughout the month of October, Ireland and Lao PDR are co-sponsoring a procedural resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions that welcomes the offer by Lao PDR to host the First Meeting of States Parties.