US to skip cluster bomb meeting...
Associated Press, April 11, 2008
GENEVA - The United States will skip a meeting in Dublin next month that aims to ban cluster bombs, officials said Friday.
Instead, Washington will focus on separate United Nations talks in Geneva that will restrict — but not ban — the use of the weapon...
More than 100 countries are expected to meet May 19-30 in Dublin, where they will try to forge a final agreement on banning a weapon they consider a serious threat to civilians.
Cluster bombs are built to explode above the ground and release thousands of small bomblets primed to detonate on impact.
Combat results show that 10 to 40 percent of the bomblets fail to go off on impact but can explode later, killing and maiming civilians. Children are particularly vulnerable as they are attracted to the bright flashlight-battery sized bomblets.
The United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel oppose a ban on cluster bombs, arguing that there are legitimate military uses for the weapon.