07 April 2011

Bulgaria ratifies cluster bomb treaty

H. E. Mr. Rayko S. Raytchev Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of Bulgaria, deposits Bulgaria’s instrument of ratification at the United Nations. Photo credit: UN Photo(London, 7 April 2011) – The Republic of Bulgaria ratified the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions on 6 April 2011, becoming the 56th nation to ratify. The treaty will enter into force for Bulgaria on 1 October 2011.“We commend Bulgaria’s ratification of the international treaty banning cluster bombs,” said CMC director Laura Cheeseman. “Bulgaria should continue to play a leading role in the region by encouraging other countries that have not yet joined the Convention to do so without delay.”Bulgaria signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo, Norway, on 3 December 2008, after playing an active role in the Oslo Process. In September 2008, Bulgaria hosted the Sofia Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, attended by eleven states from the region. This was the first in a series of regional meetings held to build support for the treaty ahead of the Oslo Signing Conference.In February 2008—prior to the adoption of the convention—Bulgaria announced a unilateral moratorium on the use of cluster munitions. Bulgaria has never used or produced cluster munitions, but possesses a stockpile of the weapon. The CMC urges Bulgaria to share detailed information on its cluster munition stockpile, and to begin destroying its stockpile without delay.Twenty out of 27 EU members have signed the Convention, and Bulgaria is the 15th member state to ratify it. Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and Sweden have signed but not yet ratified. In July 2010, the European Parliament passed a resolution welcoming entry into force of the Convention and urging all EU members to ratify or accede to the treaty “as a matter of urgency.” Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are the only EU states that still need to join.Bulgaria is also the 15th member of NATO to ratify the Convention, while five others have signed but not yet finished the ratification process. Only eight NATO members have not yet joined the Convention.The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 108 countries have signed the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010. The Convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties is scheduled to take place from 12-16 September 2011 in Beirut, Lebanon, which has significant cluster bomb contamination.