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Cluster bombs

Published on June 2, 2008
Joint statement by M. Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and M. Hervé Morin, Minister of Defense

Paris, May 23, 2008

We are midway through the Dublin conference, which began on Monday, 19 May. We welcome the promising headway made in this negotiation.

To contribute to the momentum engaged and even before knowing the treaty’s definitive text, France has decided immediately to withdraw the M26 rocket from operational service.

This is a major gesture demonstrating our armed forces’ responsible attitude. Indeed this weapon accounts for over 90% of our cluster munitions stocks.

The responsible behaviour of France, who hasn’t used cluster munitions for 17 years, shows that it is possible to reconcile humanitarian and defence requirements. Since the February 2007 Oslo conference, France has been one of the first States spurred into action by a clear goal: to prevent the humanitarian tragedies caused by cluster bombs.

In Dublin, France is defending an unambiguous position: the banning of all cluster munitions defined as unacceptable since they cause humanitarian damage.

Vice-Chairman of the Dublin Conference, France is sparing no effort to achieve an ambitious agreement bringing together as many States as possible. For the agreement to achieve maximum effectiveness at the humanitarian level, she is in fact working relentlessly to get a large consensus in favour of the draft treaty, including affected and possessor States, industrialized and developing countries, governments and NGOs./.

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