28 March 2011

Lithuania ratifies treaty banning cluster bombs

H. E. Mr. Dalius ?ekuolis Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Lithuania, deposits Lithuania's instrument of ratification at the United Nations. Photo credit: UN Photo(London, 28 March 2011) – The Republic of Lithuania ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 24 March 2011. The treaty will enter into force nationally on 1 September 2011, making Lithuania the 55th State Party.More than half of the 108 countries that signed the treaty have now ratified, and the Cluster Munition Coalition urges the remaining 53 to ratify promptly and all other countries to accede to the Convention without delay.“Lithuania should be proud to be fully on board this treaty that will eradicate cluster bombs and is already saving lives,” said CMC Director Laura Cheeseman. “As the first Baltic state to formally ratify the Convention, Lithuania should urge its neighbours to join without delay.”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 is affected by uncleared cluster bombs.Lithuania signed the Convention in Oslo in December 2008, after participating in the Oslo Process to negotiate the treaty. Lithuania is not believed to possess a stockpile of cluster munitions and has stated that it never used, produced or transferred the weapons. The Lithuanian government announced it will provisionally apply Article 1 of the Convention for the next six months until all its provisions become legally binding nationally.Lithuania is the 14th member of NATO to ratify the Convention, while six others have signed but not yet finished the ratification process. Only eight NATO members have not yet joined the Convention. Lithuania is the first Baltic state to sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions; Estonia and Latvia have not yet joined.