Spain to ban use and production of cluster bombs

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About 5,000 of the controversial bombs will be destroyed in the two years.

9 July 2008

MADRID - Defence Minister Carme Chacón announced Tuesday that in the coming weeks the government will approve legislation banning the use, production, and storage of widely condemned cluster bombs.

She said that the country plans to destroy in less than two years about 5,000 cluster bombs. Chacón said the decision put Spain "at the head" of a group of nations committed to destroying cluster bombs.

The announcement by the defence minister follows a landmark agreement last May in Dublin, where over 100 nations agreed to ban the use of cluster bombs within eight years.

Cluster bombs contain dozens to hundreds of so-called bomblets that are supposed to explode on impact with the ground. Many of the munitions, however, fail to detonate fully and explode when civilians stumble across them, sometimes many years after they were dropped.

For his part, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday that after 2018m more than 99 percent of bomblets inside cluster bombs must be sure to detonate. The US was not among the signatory nations to the Dublin agreement.

[El Pais / Expatica]

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