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Cluster bomb ban would impede humanitarian efforts: US official

[JURIST] The ban on cluster bombs [ICRC materials; JURIST news archive] currently being considered at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions [official website, JURIST report] could impede humanitarian efforts by discouraging cooperation with non-signatories, a US State Department official said in a press briefing [transcript] Wednesday. US Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Stephen D. Mull said that the draft treaty would bar signatories from any military cooperation, including humanitarian and peace-keeping operations, with nations that refused to sign the ban. The US has long said that it will not support a ban on cluster bombs [JURIST report]. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

Opponents of cluster bombs, including some military officers, believe them to be inaccurate weapons designed to spread damage indiscriminately. An estimated 10-40 percent of the munitions fail to detonate and become a serious hazard for civilian populations. Since the two-day Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions [conference materials] last February, there have been increasing calls to ban the weapons. Last month the US said it would not attend the 2008 Dublin conference [JURIST report], but that it is open to negotiations to reduce their impact on civilians by requiring increased reliability, accuracy and visibility of unexploded munitions.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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