Cluster bombs, which nearly 100 countries are seeking to ban, should not be considered bad as long as states involved in conflicts use them responsibly, a senior United States official said on Wednesday.
The official, who declined to be identified, also told a background briefing that Washington was planning to create a “quick reaction force”, or QRF, to handle threats to civilians from remnants of war, like cluster bombs.The official’s remarks, which could not be quoted directly, clearly confirmed that Washington — like Russia, China and some other powers — remained opposed to banning the weapon.
He spoke as negotiators on updating a 1981 international agreement on especially dangerous conventional weapons (CCW) met in Geneva to prepare for “expert discussions” on cluster weapons next year under the United Nations umbrella.
Cluster munitions include a variety of weapons that can spread up to hundreds of bomblets over a target area. Up to 30 percent fail to explode, posing a threat to civilians for many years after a conflict.
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