The first Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions began on 9 November in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement:
”From the very beginning, Germany has campaigned actively for these horrific weapons to be banned. As we meet in Vientiane, we also call on those states which have not yet joined the Convention. Our aim is a world without cluster munitions.“
Germany has always spoken out for a ban on cluster munitions. It has been destroying cluster-munitions stockpiles since as early as 2001. From the outset, the Federal Government played a key role in diplomatic efforts to negotiate a ban on cluster munitions.
It was already in 2009 that Germany ratified the United Nations Convention, signed in 2008, and transposed it into national law. So far, a total of 45 states have ratified the Convention, which entered into force on 1 August 2010.
The States Parties intend this first Meeting of States Parties to the Convention in Laos (9 12 November 2010) as an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to the prohibition of cluster munitions and to establish concrete steps to implement the Convention.
Cluster munitions are especially dangerous because of their high dud rate and contamination of large areas of land. This puts particularly the civilian population at risk – not only during military operations but also long after hostilities have ended.