One hundred eleven countries have signed a comprehensive ban on the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs, concluding a 12-day meeting on the issue in Dublin. Notably absent from the list of signatories was the U.S. — the largest cluster bomb manufacturer in the world — as well as military heavyweights Israel, Russia, China, India and Pakistan. Cluster bombs are widely criticized as being disastrous to civilian populations both during and after wars, because fallen but unexploded bomblets can remain active and potentially lethal for decades.

Voice of America:

Delegates from 111 countries have formally adopted a comprehensive ban on cluster bombs.

The treaty comes at the close of a 12-day meeting Friday in Dublin and bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs. It requires signatories to destroy their stocks within eight years and to assist in clearing contaminated areas.

The United States – one of the world’s largest cluster bomb makers – opposes a ban. It boycotted the Dublin conference, along with Israel, Russia, China, India and Pakistan.

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