International plea to join cluster bomb ban

A global effort to ban cluster bombs has gained signatures of 106 countries.

Updated: Jun 10, 2010, 12:41 PM IST

Santiago: A global effort to ban cluster bombs has gained the signatures of 106 countries, but 70 more have yet to sign on with only weeks to go before the ban goes into effect on August 01.

The United States is among those refusing to sign. The Pentagon considers cluster bombs to be a key part of its defence strategy.

That saddens Lynn Bradach, mother of US Marine Travis Bradach-Nall, who died trying to remove the bombs in Iraq in 2003.

"These bombs are killing our own troops," she said.

Bradach, a spokeswoman for the US campaign against cluster bombs, was among those trying to get more countries to sign on as part of an international lobbying effort in Chile yesterday.

The Cluster Munition Coalition gathered representatives of more than 100 countries in Chile this week to plot strategy. Only 36 countries have both signed and ratified the convention, which will go into effect nevertheless, two years after it was presented in Norway.

"It saddens and frustrates me a bit that they haven`t signed," said Jesus Martinez of El Salvador, who lost his legs to a land mine in 1989.

Other countries that haven`t signed on include Brazil, whose Foreign Relations Ministry said yesterday that the matter remains under consideration.