By Jeff Abramson
Starting today, the country most affected by cluster munitions – Laos – will play host to the first meeting of states-parties on the Convention on Cluster Munitions. And last week, Lebanon–the country in which the use of cluster munitions helped galvanize the movement that led to the treaty–ratified the convention just in time to attend as a full partner. Both countries may face challenges* in meeting some of the convention’s goals, but their desire to see these weapons controlled is inspirational. More than 100 countries are expected to attend the first meeting of states-parties.
The United States, using a different approach to limiting the irresponsible use of cluster bombs, has proposed the transfer of 1300 of the weapons to Saudi Arabia in a deal that Congress has less than 2 weeks to review before it can proceed.
ACA’s resources on cluster munitions available at: http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/115/date
* Laos has until Aug 1, 2020 to complete clearance of all areas affected by unexploded submunitions under its jurisdiction, and it may request request an extension of up to five years under the treaty. The 2020 or 2025 deadline may be difficult to meet. In Lebanon, Hezbollah may have a stockpile of cluster munitions. Under the treaty, Lebanon has eight years, with a possible four-year extension, to destroy stockpiles under its jurisdiction. Hezbollah’s supported stockpile may therefore not count, but poses a question about Lebanese authority.