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Lebanon praised at global anti-cluster bomb meeting

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010 11:54:15 -0500
Subject: Lebanon praised at global anti-cluster bomb meeting

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American Task Force for Lebanon

Dear David,
I wanted to call your attention to the following news item from the Daily Star. I have bolded the sections that are most relevant.
George Cody, Ph.D.

Copyright (c) 2010 The Daily Star

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Lebanon praised at global anti-cluster bomb meeting

By The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanon was congratulated Tuesday for its ratification of an international treaty banning the use of cluster bombs, as the world's first meeting of countries affected by the weapons got under way in Laos.

The Meeting of States Parties, overseen by the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC) welcomed Lebanon as the latest government to ratify the so-called "Oslo Process." Lebanon has bid to host the second international convention in 2011 and CMC insiders have welcomed the attempt to bring representatives from cluster bomb-ravaged countries together in Beirut.

So far, 108 countries have signed the agreement, which is now legally binding, although dozens have failed to implement it into domestic legislation.

CMC Coordinator Thomas Nash thanked all countries which had effectuated the treaty.

"By bringing this landmark treaty into effect so quickly, nations have sent a resounding message that cluster bombs have no place in today's world," he said. "We're encouraged that at least seven countries have already destroyed their stockpiles under the treaty. States must keep up the momentum and deliver on all of their treaty obligations."

Almost 700 people have been killed or injured in cluster bomb-related injuries in Lebanon since 1975. Israel carpeted swathes of south Lebanon with the weapons during the final hours of its 2006 summer war on Lebanon. It is estimated that of the at least four million munitions dropped, up to 40 percent failed to detonate on impact, becoming de facto landmines which continue to kill Lebanese. Most of the 45 people killed by cluster bomb fragments since 2006 have been children or local farmers.

It is also thought that up to five percent of all arable land in Lebanon remains contaminated, contributing to GDP losses of up to $25 million.

The government maintains it has never sanctioned the use of cluster munitions, although a recent CMC report said Hizbullah had fired "more than 100 Chinese-produced Type-81 122mm cluster munition rockets from southern Lebanon into northern Israel" during 2006 hostilities.

Copyright (c) 2010 The Daily Star

American Task Force for Lebanon
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Telephone: (202) 223-9333 Fax: (202) 223-1399.

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