Ban hails cluster bomb treaty

May 30, 2008 at 6:30 PM
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DUBLIN, Ireland, May 30 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday praised the signing in Dublin of a treaty banning the use of cluster bomb munitions.

"I am delighted that the strong calls to address the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions have been answered with the adoption today of this new convention," Ban said in a statement. "I welcome this successful outcome of the Dublin Diplomatic Conference, and congratulate everyone who contributed to the process."

Representatives of 110 nations -- minus the United States and other cluster bomb makers -- signed the Cluster Munitions Convention that would require all stockpiles of cluster bombs to be destroyed within eight years.

Cluster bombs are air-dropped weapons that scatter scores of small "bomblets" across wide areas. Critics say that a percentage of the bomblets fail to explode on impact, leaving them to be picked up by civilians who can be maimed or killed when they detonate.

Ban said a signing "brought about a new international standard that will enhance the protection of civilians, strengthen human rights and improve prospects for development."

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