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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Norway First to Sign Cluster Bomb Treaty. Reminds Me to Give Up Non-Alcoholic Beer and Left Handed Masterbation for Lent

Representatives of about 100 nations began signing the ambitious treaty Wednesday morning formally renouncing the use of the bombs, typically anti-personnel weapons that eject dozens of explosive bomblets when detonated.

But some of the world’s biggest military powers, including the United States, China and Russia, reject the pact and many of the signatories expressed concern that the treaty they were signing fails to bind the countries most prone to military conflict.

As the sponsor of a drive to outlaw the use of the bombs, Norway was the first to sign the treaty, followed by Laos, Lebanon and Ireland.

But the United States has rejected the new treaty and therefore may legally continue to deploy its vast cluster-bomb arsenal. Russia, China, India, Pakistan and most Middle Eastern states have also refused to give up their weapons despite the lethal danger they pose to civilians.
In an apparent policy reversal Afghanistan decided to join the treaty:
In a surprising last-minute change of policy, the government of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed Wednesday to join about 100 nations signing a treaty banning the use of cluster munitions, Afghan officials said.

The decision appeared to reflect Mr. Karzai’s growing independence from the Bush administration, which has opposed the treaty and, according to a senior Afghan official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, had urged Mr. Karzai not to sign it.
Full article here.

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