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Treaty backers predict no U.S. cluster bomb use

May 31, 2008|From the Associated Press

DUBLIN, IRELAND — Chief negotiators of a treaty banning cluster bombs predicted Friday that the United States would never again use the weapons.

The treaty formally adopted Friday by 111 nations, including many of the United States' major NATO partners, outlaws all current designs of cluster munitions and requires destruction of stockpiles within eight years. It also opens the possibility that European allies could order the U.S. to remove cluster bombs from bases on their territory.

The U.S. and other leading cluster bomb makers -- Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan -- boycotted the talks and defended the weapons' military value.

But treaty backers insisted that they had made it too politically painful for any country to use them.

"The country that thinks of using cluster munitions next week should think twice, because it would look very bad," said Espen Barth Eide, deputy defense minister of Norway, which will host a treaty-signing ceremony Dec. 3.

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