02 December 2010

CMC responds to leaked cable on US-UK cluster bomb policy talks

(London, 2 December 2010) – A leaked diplomatic cable published on 1 December by The Guardian newspaper reveals how the United States sought to influence United Kingdom policy ahead of a parliamentary debate on ratifying the international treaty banning cluster bombs, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) said today. “It's disturbing that the US is seeking to determine British policy on cluster munitions,” said Thomas Nash, Coordinator of the CMC. “Britain is bound by the Convention on Cluster Munitions and should not be assisting the US, or any other country, in using the weapons.”The cable refers to envisioned “temporary exceptions” to British law to allow for the transshipment of US cluster munitions through Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean. Any authorisations that appear to come into conflict with UK law and treaty obligations should be subject to strict parliamentary scrutiny, the CMC said.The United Kingdom, a major former user and producer of cluster munitions, ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 4 May 2010. It is legally bound never to assist any country in using cluster munitions and condemned the use of the weapon at the close of the Convention’s First Meeting of States Parties in Lao PDR last month.Another recently leaked cable reveals a failed US attempt to prevent Afghanistan from signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008.The leaked cables are available on The Guardian website:

  • US embassy cables: Afghanistan 'goes it alone' on cluster bomb treaty
  • US embassy cables: UK and US officials discuss cluster bombs
  • US embassy cables: Cluster bomb talks a tactical manoeuvre, UK says
Media reports on the leaked cables:
  • BBC: "WikiLeaks: UK allowed US to use cluster bomb 'loophole'"
  • The Guardian: "WikiLeaks cables: Secret deal let Americans sidestep cluster bomb ban"
Download the CMC policy paper on military interoperability