04 February 2010

Montenegro joins nations leading cluster bomb ban treaty

Montenegro joins nations leading cluster bomb ban treatyGreece and Serbia are the only holdouts in southeastern Europe(London, 4 February 2010) – Montenegro’s ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 25 January places it among the first 30 states that will trigger the Convention’s entry into force, the Cluster Munition Coalition said today. Thirty ratifications are needed for the Convention to enter into force and become binding international law six months later; currently, 104 countries have signed and Montenegro is the 27th to ratify. “We welcome Montenegro’s initiative to be among the vanguard group of nations that will make the Convention on Cluster Munitions binding international law,” said Eva Veble, head of humanitarian mine action at DanChurchAid, a CMC member organisation. “The fact that five of the 30 are in the Balkans is a testament to the resolve of the region’s affected states to ban this indiscriminate weapon.”The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities.Montenegro is not known to have used or produced cluster munitions, but it inherited a stockpile of 353 BL-755 cluster bombs upon the dissolution of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006.As a country recently affected by cluster munitions, Montenegro has highlighted the Convention’s strong emphasis on victim assistance and clearance of contaminated land. All of its neighbours in southeastern Europe – many of which also suffer from cluster bomb contamination – have now signed or ratified, with the exception of Greece and Serbia.