France destroys cluster bomb stocks, calls for reciprocity

PARIS, June 30 (KUNA) — France declared on Thursday that it had destroyed all stocks of controversial cluster bombs and called on other States which have not done so to fall in line with international efforts to rid armies of such weapons.
Cluster bombs are shells that contain scores of mini-explosive devices which pollute entire zones and these bombs cause many casualties among civilian populations.
The French Foreign and Defence Ministries, in a joint statement, said that France has now fully adhered to the 2008 Oslo Convention banning the use, production and stocking or transfer of cluster bombs.
The French eradication programme was completed two years ahead of schedule, the statement affirmed.
France ratified the Oslo Convention in 2010 but has not used cluster bombs since 1991 in the war against Iraq after that country invaded and occupied Kuwait in August 1990.
Other countries, among them Israel, have since then used such weapons, particularly in Lebanon.
“France strongly condemns the use of cluster bombs, as they are likely to have particularly serious consequences for civilian populations both during and after conflicts,” the joint statement said, urging all those which have not ratified the Oslo agreement to “join it and fully implement its different elements.” (end)

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