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Monday, July 21, 2008

The Power of Europe

An article, that is not significant of the power of Europe for the moment, but that has the potential. It's about the cluster bombs ban. I hope the situation with the land mines repeat and the change of position of England will lead to the international ban of those horrible weapons. Just notice the position of USA- "those bombs proves useful"!!! Disgusting, can I say more?

Britain Joins a Draft Treaty on Cluster Munitions

May 29, 2008

LONDON — The draft of a treaty to ban cluster munitions was adopted by a group of 111 nations on Wednesday in Dublin after Britain dropped its longstanding opposition to any limitations on the weapons.

The sudden shift by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is under pressure to combat his Labor Party’s declining political fortunes, created fresh pressures on the United States, which had counted Britain as one of its staunchest allies in opposing the ban.

The treaty, hammered out in two weeks of talks in Dublin, had been under negotiation since February 2007. The nations accepting the treaty are scheduled to gather again in Oslo in early December to sign the pact, which would ban the use, production and sale of cluster munitions.

The draft treaty would still leave most of the world’s stockpile of cluster weapons untouched, as the United States has been joined in its outright opposition to the ban, and in its boycott of the Dublin conference, by a group of military powers that includes China, Russia, Israel, India, Pakistan and Brazil.

Weapons experts estimate that the United States, China and Russia each have at least a billion cluster munitions, counting the individual “bomblets” that are carried by each weapon, dwarfing the stockpiles of states that have accepted the treaty.

But supporters of the treaty said that its impact would be felt even by those nations that refused to sign, much as those countries that have rejected the 1997 Ottawa treaty on land mines, including the United States, have refrained from using mines since that treaty was adopted.

“We have a strong treaty,” said Simon Conway, a former British soldier who is a co-chairman of the Anti-Cluster Campaign.

Cluster munitions is the term used for weapons fired from aircraft and artillery that contain dozens, or even hundreds, of bomblets that can remain active long after the weapon is fired, posing deadly risks to civilians. Used by the United States and Britain in Iraq during the invasion of 2003, and by Israel in its incursion into Lebanon in 2006, the weapons have been blamed for the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Human rights groups estimate that one in four of the casualties have been children playing with the unexploded bomblets.

The draft treaty sets an eight-year deadline for signatory nations to destroy most of their stockpiles of cluster weapons, along with other provisions that delegates said would ultimately eliminate all but a small fraction of cluster munitions in nations that sign the treaty. It also obliges nations that adopt it to provide “technical, financial or material assistance” for clearing up cluster munitions “remnants” that remain on the territory of other states.

The proposed treaty would not ban a new lightweight generation of so-called smart cluster munitions, each carrying fewer than 10 bomblets and designed to self-destruct within a short period after impact, if they have not detonated against a target.

These currently account for only a small part of the American inventory of cluster munitions, but the Bush administration has argued that a shift to these new weapons, which pose a much lower risk to civilians, makes a ban of the kind called for in the treaty unnecessary.

In Washington on Wednesday, a Bush administration spokesman said that, while sharing the “humanitarian concerns of those in Dublin,” the White House remained opposed to the draft treaty. “Cluster munitions have demonstrated military utility,” said the spokesman, Tom Casey of the State Department, “and their elimination from U.S. stockpiles would put the lives of our soldiers and those of our coalition partners at risk.”

Supporters said that in addition to stigmatizing the use of traditional cluster munitions, the treaty would hasten the transition to the new generation of “smart” weapons that self-destruct. And they pointed to Britain’s support of the ban, after years of resistance, as a watershed moment that would stand alongside the treaty that banned land mines.

The land mine pact has been shunned by a relatively small group of military powers, including the United States, but advocates of the cluster munitions treaty said that the decision by Britain — a major American ally, one of the most important military powers in NATO, and a member of the United Nations Security Council — could create fresh pressures on the United States, particularly after Mr. Bush leaves office next January.

Negotiators in Dublin also resolved a dispute over a section of the treaty that deals with the responsibilities, and potential legal liabilities, of signatory states that cooperate in battlefield situations with nations that have not joined the ban — something the United States had lobbied for energetically.

In a concession to Britain, Australia and other American military allies, the draft treaty contains a permissive provision stating that the troops of signatory nations “may engage in military cooperation and operations with states not party to this convention that might engage” in the use of cluster munitions.

It seemed likely that the treaty would also skirt another potential snarl, allowing the United States to continue to maintain the stockpiles of cluster munitions that it has at bases in countries that plan to join the ban, including Britain and Germany.



The Pagan Temple said...

I almost agree with this one hundred percent. I think all countries, with the sole exception of the United States of America, should get rid of it's cluster bombs. For that matter, I think all countries except the USA should get rid of their nuclear arsenal as well.

Hey, since it's impossible to destroy them and get rid of the nuclear waste, why not give them all to the US? We've got a pretty good record, only two bombs exploded in war over the last sixty years.

I think you might be on to something that might be a good idea here. Come to think of it, why not just hand us over all your weapons? LOL

Denitsa said...

Why all the countries except the USA? Is there a reason why USA should be more armed than the other countries? I mean, like, why? Why USA should be different than the rest of the world...


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